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Is the Autenti e-signature valid and effective?
In accordance with Polish and European law, an effective conclusion of a contract does not necessarily require a classic signature on paper, unless there is an explicitly indicated exception provided for by law. Pursuant to Article 60 of the Polish Civil Code, in order to make a declaration of intent, it is sufficient for a person to act in any way that sufficiently reveals his or her intent, also including the also by disclosure ofing the intent in an electronic form.
The Autenti platform offers both the possibility of using the documentary form (electronic signature / Autenti e-signature) - that is, one that sufficiesis sufficient when the law does not require a specific form and the electronic form (qualified electronic signature), if a written form is necessary for the validity of a given transaction.
Under European law, all types of electronic signatures are valid, regardless of whether they bear a qualified certificate or not. Therefore, an electronic signature cannot be denied legal effect or admissibility as evidence in court proceedings solely on the grounds that the signature is in electronic form or that it does not meet the requirements for qualified electronic signatures (Article 25 (1) of the eIDAS Regulation). On the other hand, qualified electronic signatures have the effect of a handwritten signature (Article 25 (2) of the eIDAS Regulation).
An electronic signature submitted under a declaration of intent always ensures preserving the documentary form, which allows for the effective conclusion of the majority of contracts functioning in economic trade.
Are the services offered by Autenti legal?
Autenti provides trust services pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market and repealing Directive 1999/93/EC, hereinafter referred to as eIDAS, as well as the Act of 5 September 2016 on Trust Services and Electronic Identification.
The Autenti platform may also be used to process documents in processes for which it is necessary to meet the requirements of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (in particular, the Communication of 23 January 2020 on the processing of information by supervised entities in a public or hybrid cloud).
Can documents signed with an e-signature constitute evidence in court proceedings?
A document signed with an electronic signature may constitute evidence in court proceedings, which is guaranteed by Art. 25, section 1 of eIDAS regulation, i.e .: ‘An electronic signature may not be denied legal effect and admissibility as evidence in legal proceedings solely on the grounds that the signature is in the electronic form or that it does not meet the requirements for qualified electronic signatures.’
Confirmation of signing a specific document issued by Autenti (in the form of a Signature Card) is a document issued by a trusted third party, and at the same time a trust services provider, which can be used as evidence in court proceedings for: signing the document, its content, date on which the signatures were placed. Moreover, the parties are able to show whether there has been an unauthorized and unlawful change (modification) of a given document, or whether it retains its integrity.
Is Autenti a trust service provider?
Autenti provides trust services on the basis of the Trust Services Provision Policy, which defines the types, rules and conditions for their provision, in accordance with the eIDAS Regulation, as well as the Act of 5 September 2016 on Trust Services and Electronic Identification. Autenti is included in the list of Non-qualified Trust Service Providers kept by the National Bank of Poland at the request of the minister competent for computerisation.
Does Autenti guarantee the integrity of signed documents?
Securing the authenticity and integrity of the document content is the core functionality that distinguishes the innovative Autenti technology from other solutions available on the market. Signing on the Autenti platform takes place in a strictly defined process, in which, from the moment the document is sent to the end of its signing by all required persons, it is stored and made available to authorized persons using advanced IT mechanisms. The applied security measures make it impossible for the content to be changed unnoticed.
In order to confirm the securities process, Autenti uses electronic seals based on a qualified certificate, which are placed on the document immediately after its sending and after the signing is completed, and enable, using an additional visual layer of the Signature Card and a technical one of the file, to clearly define the signatures affixed, without changing the document made available to its signers. The electronic seal used, verified by a qualified certificate, meets the requirements of Article 36 of eIDAS, in particular, it is linked to the document in such a way that any subsequent change of the data is automatically recognizable.
For example, opening a document signed in Autenti in the Adobe Acrobat Reader application verifies whether any changes have been made to the sealed document or not and, in the event of such changes, it clearly informs about them. Each document signed in Autenti is additionally marked with a qualified electronic time stamp, which not only guarantees the integrity of the document, but also provides for the presumption of the accuracy of the date and time it indicates.
Can Autenti provide services in the banking outsourcing regime?
YES.Autenti may provide services in a manner consistent with the requirements of both the Act of 29 August 1997 – Banking Law and the Announcement of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority regarding the processing of information by supervised entities using public or hybrid cloud computing of January 23, 2020. The service is provided based on an individual agreement.
Autenti is a trust service provider based on European standards
Trust Services are provided on the basis and in accordance with Regulation (EU) No. 910/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market and repealing Directive 1999/93/EC (Journal of Laws of UE of 2014, No. 257, p.73), referred to as the eIDAS Regulation.
The eIDAS regulation guarantees uniform treatment of electronic signatures and electronic documents throughout the European Union, ensuring their identification and legal recognition.
On the basis of eIDAS, the Polish Act of 5 September 2016 on Trust Services and Electronic Identification (i.e. Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1173, as amended) was issued.
The indicated legal acts regulate the principles of operation of trust service providers and the provision of trust services, and establish a legal framework for electronic signatures, electronic seals, electronic time stamps, electronic documents, electronic registered delivery services and website authentication certification services.
TRUSTED THIRD PARTY
- ‘Trusted third party’ (the so-called ‘TTP’ pl. ‘Zaufana Strona Trzecia’) is an independent entity that facilitates the interaction between the parties, guaranteeing impartiality and objective confirmation of the performance of certain factual or legal actions.
- An example of a trusted third party is a notary. A similar role is played by trust services providers who, among otherothers things, confirm the fact that a particular document has been signed, authenticate a natural person's identity or validate electronic signatures. Affixing an electronic signature on the platform of a trusted third party makes it easier to confirm the action in the future.
- Autenti, acting as a trusted third party, guarantees evidence of the implementation of the electronic signature process, independent of all transaction participants.
Autenti has been entered into the register of non-qualified trust providers, kept by the National Bank of Poland, available at: https://www.nccert.pl/uslugiNK.htm. You can read the ‘Autenti Trust Services Provision Policy’ at the following link:https://autenti.com/en/terms-and-conditions/autenti-trust-services-policy/
In order to be included in such a list, a trust service provider must meet the conditions specified in the eIDAS regulation and the Act on Trust Services and Electronic Identification. The trust service provider operates based on the shared trust service provision policy.
As a trust service provider, Autenti guarantees compliance with eIDAS
we provide evidence of the signing process
we guarantee independence
we provide support to our customers
Autenti Signature Card
As a ‘trusted third party’ we provide evidence of the signing process in the form of a Signature Card.
The Signature Card is an additional page generated at the moment of sending the document for signature, attached to the source pdf file, thanks to which it is possible to show who, when and from what device (IP) placed an electronic signature on the document. The Signature Card shows all the data that was used to create an electronic signature. The signatures are listed chronologically.
The Signature Card contains, as part of the visualization, the fields informing about:
the type of submitted electronic signature,
the name and surname of the signer,
the signer's e-mail address,
the signer's telephone number (optional, if an additional signer identification method is used),
details of the signer's organization and its functions (optional, in the case of signing the document by a person representing the selected organization),
the type of submitted electronic signature,
the signer's authentication used,
the reasons for signing,
the IP address obtained from the signing device,
date and time of signing.
The signature card is attached to each signed document on the Autenti platform
e-signature in the European Union
Depaperisation of everyday business and consumer relations of our customers is the main focus of Autenti's operations. We support, educate and advise. Below there are some important points that will help you understand the world of electronic signatures.
§ What is an electronic signature?
§ When is an electronic signature on documents valid?
- the documentary form (Article 772 of the Polish Civil Code). For this to be sufficient, it is enough to submit a declaration of intent in the form of a document in such a way as to enable the identification of the person submitting the declaration,
- the ordinary written form (Article 78 of the Polish Civil Code), i.e. submitting your handwritten signature on a document;
- the electronic form (Article 79 of the Polish Civil Code), i.e. submitting a declaration of intent in electronic form and affixing a qualified electronic signature – it is equivalent to the written form,
- special forms, e.g. a notarial deed, notarial signature attestation.
§ What is the difference between the written and documentary form?
The written form consists ofin affixing your handwritten signature.
The electronic form consists ofin submitting a declaration of intent in electronic form and affixing it with a qualified electronic signature (electronic signature using a qualified certificate).
The electronic form is equivalent to the written form.
The documentary form consists ofin submitting a declaration of intent in the form of a document, in a manner enabling the identification of the person submitting the declaration.
§ What documents can be signed with an electronic signature (Autenti e-signature)?
The Autenti e-Signature meets the standards of electronic signatures used all over the world!
we ensure an audit trail of the signing process
signatures are validated in commonly used tools
- we meet the standards of a fixed carrier
e-signature in the world
Electronic signatures know no boundaries! European standards for electronic signatures go hand in hand with global requirements.
Electronic signatures are an effective way to make declarations and conclude binding contracts almost anywhere in the world. The laws of most countries not only allow them to be used to conclude commercial contracts, but above all these signed documents can be used as evidence in court proceedings.
Some legislations distinguish the types of electronic signatures depending on the technology used for their creation and the purpose of the signature (e.g. ordinary, advanced and qualified electronic signatures), while in many other parts of the world any e-signature submitted, regardless of the technology used, is effective from the legal point of view.
Contracting with the use of electronic signatures is particularly simplified when dealing with contractors from the countries where specific types of electronic signatures do not apply (e.g. USA, Canada, Great Britain, China, United Arab Emirates, Australia). Concluding contracts in these countries does not require a written form at all, and takes effect as soon as the parties agree. Evidence of such an agreement can not only be a document concluded on paper, but also any other form of evidence, including an electronic file.
Regardless of where our contractors are located, when contracting takes place between entrepreneurs, a good solution is to indicate the law of a specific country that will be the law governing a given contract. In this way, you can refer to well-known rules, making it easier to assess whether the selected contracting method is fully effective or not.
The American law is open in terms of technology and its approach to electronic signature. There is no federal law requiring the use of a specific technology for a legally enforceable electronic signature, whether for digital certificates or otherwise.
Some states have local requirements for state-approved digital certificates approved for use in transactions with that state’s government agencies.
The legal situation regarding the use of electronic records and electronic signatures in trade was reinforced by the adoption of the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) in most states and the enactment of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) at the federal level in 2000. Both ESIGN and UETA stipulate that electronic signatures have the same weight and legal effect as traditional paper documents and handwritten signatures, while also stating that a document or signature cannot be denied legal effect or enforceability just because it is in the electronic form. The Federal Rules of Evidence and the Uniform Rules of Evidence generally allow the admission of electronic records and their reproductions as evidence. The above applies to electronic signatures stored on a computer or server, so that any printout showing that it accurately reflects the data is considered to be the original.
It is therefore important for an electronic signature to be able to sufficiently demonstrate to a court that an appropriate level and quantity of information related to the signing process has been maintained, and that the system used to store the information is reliable in itself.
Cases where the use of a handwritten signature or a special form is required, e.g. notarial wills, official court documents, orders, divorce and adoption documents, termination of health insurance benefits, documentation regarding the transport or handling hazardous or toxic materials, notification of a product recall due to health, safety or material defects of the product.
Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (“ESIGN”)
In the Brexit Agreement with the European Union, the United Kingdom stipulated that the provisions of Union law applicable under that agreement produce the same legal effects for the United Kingdom and in the United Kingdom as they produce in the Union and its Member States. Thus, legal or natural persons may, in particular, directly rely on its provisions. The Agreement also provides that its provisions relating to the European Union law or to concepts or provisions thereof shall be interpreted and applied in accordance with the methods and general principles of the European Union law.
The above also applies to the eIDAS regulation, and thus, electronic signatures issued based on eIDAS are as binding in the UK legal order as they are within the European Union. A qualified signature is also treated as equal to a handwritten signature.
Under English law, a written signature is not necessarily required to enter into a valid contract. Contracts are generally valid regardless of whether the agreement between the parties is oral, electronic or in the form of a paper document. UK case law in this regard clearly confirms that contracts cannot be denied enforceability just because they are concluded electronically.
However, in order to prove the validity of a contract, the parties may have to present the relevant evidence in court. Digital transaction management solutions, such as electronic signatures, are a way of providing electronic records that are admissible as evidence under s7 (1) of the Electronic Communications Act 2000 (‘ECA 2000’) to confirm the existence, authenticity and valid acceptance of a contract.
Under English law, certain documents must be drawn up as an act. Electronic signatures are an important method of performing such activities under the English common law. Two important exceptions to this general rule are the legal acts to be registered with the British land registry and wills. Moreover, in many cases the execution of the act must be carried out in the physical presence of a witness and the witness must confirm this. Therefore, the witness to an electronically prepared document must be in the same room as the signer, when he or she affixes his or her electronic signature, and can electronically confirm the act.Source:
The Electronic Identification Regulation (EU/910/2014) (2014)
Under Singapore law, a written signature is not necessarily required to enter into a valid contract – contracts are valid if legally competent parties reach an agreement, whether or not they agree verbally, electronically or in a physical, paper document. In order to prove the validity of a contract, the parties sometimes have to present evidence in court. Leading digital transaction management solutions should provide electronic records that meet all recording requirements under the Electronic Transactions Act and are admitted as evidence under the Evidence Act to confirm the existence, authenticity and valid acceptance of a contract.
As a country with a multi-level electronic signature legal model, Singapore supports the concept of a 'secure electronic signature' (this is the local term for the qualified electronic signature) which requires both digital signature technology and certification of an electronic certificate provider by a certification authority licensed by the government. A qualified signature is not necessary for an electronic signature to be considered a valid signature for any transaction. Currently, there is one digital certification authority that can issue certificates necessary to obtain a qualified electronic signature.
Examples of documents for which an ordinary electronic signature can be used:
- HR documentation, employment contracts, orders and others,
- confidentiality agreements,
- sales and service contracts,
- software licenses,
- copyright transfer agreements,
- contracts with consumers.
Electronic Transactions Act (2010)
This material, although written with the assistance of lawyers, does not constitute legal advice, as it would require an analysis of a specific situation. The purpose of the material is to provide generalized information on the signing of contracts between parties based in different countries, without taking into account special or exceptional situations. We advise you to consult your lawyers on specific situations or contact the Autenti team at: email@example.com