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Consider Getting an Electronic Signature if You Do Not Already Have One 

by Ana-Maria Selea, Associate

Published: March, 2020

Submission: March, 2020

 



As Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread, the general advice from Governments around the world is to avoid any contact with others as much as possible. In this context, we feel that organizations would most benefit from implementing electronic signatures in order to keep their activity going during this unfortunate state of play.


Electronic signatures in Romania are mainly governed by the EU Regulation no. 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market and repealing Directive 1999/93/EC (“eIDAS Regulation”) and, for the time being, Law 455/2001 regarding electronic signature and the methodological norms issued for its application.


The eIDAS Regulation has been a stepping stone for EU member states in enhancing the use of electronic means for concluding transactions and building trust in online services. The eIDAS Regulation provides as a matter of principle that an electronic document shall not be denied legal effect and admissibility as evidence in legal proceedings solely on the grounds that it is in electronic form.


The eIDAS Regulation provides for three types of electronic signature:


  • (Simple) electronic signature (“SES”) defined as data in electronic form which is attached to or logically associated with other electronic data and which is used by the signatory to sign;

  • Advanced electronic signature (“AdES”) defined as an electronic signature that meets the following criteria: (i) it is uniquely linked to the signatory; (ii) it is capable of identifying the signatory; (iii) it is created using means that the signatory can maintain under its sole control; (iv) it is linked to the data to which it relates in such a manner that any subsequent change in the data is detectable;

  • Qualified electronic signature (“QES”) defined as the advanced electronic signature that is created by a qualified electronic signature creation device, and which is based on a qualified certificate for electronic signatures. Both the qualified electronic signature creation device and the qualified certificate for electronic signatures are issued by qualified trusted services providers. The list of local trusted services providers can be found athttps://webgate.ec.europa.eu/tl-browser/#/tl/RO

The eIDAS Regulation further provides that a qualified electronic signature represents the equivalent of a wet signature when it comes to legal effect and that an electronic signature shall not be denied legal effect and admissibility as evidence in legal proceedings solely on the grounds that it is in electronic form or that it does not meet the requirements for qualified electronic signatures.


The core regulations on online transactions and electronic signatures are included in the eIDAS Regulation. However, the European legislator has left it to the member states to regulate at a national level certain essential aspects, such as the legal effects of simple and advanced electronic signatures.


So far the role of electronic signature has been considered in relation to agreements under private signature, it remains to be seen if and how execution of deeds that require authentic form will be digitalized in the current context of theCoronavirus SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.


 



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