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Are electronic signatures legally binding

May 30, 2022 4 min read
Are electronic signatures legally binding

Defne Çobanoğlu

Electronic signatures are a simple and effective means to collect individual signatures for signature forms, petitions, or agreement forms. The user can add a signature field to their forms. The electronic form signature eases the process by saving time and energy on the signing part. 

You may be a business owner searching to know whether signature forms are legally binding. This may determine the way you will proceed with your business plan. The help of online technology is in almost every aspect of everyday life. And, collecting signatures for online forms are essential for some business and institutions. Now, let us see how effective e-signatures are in different parts of the world.

Benefits of electronic signatures?

Using electronic signatures on online forms and contracts is a great help on many occasions. Electronic signatures can be used for contracts, sign-up forms, registrations, and so many more forms. In other words, there are many ways one can benefit from using this smart feature. And now, here are some benefits of e-signatures:

  • They help save time.
  • They are cost-effective.
  • They increase security and reduce risks.
  • They can be made and signed anywhere, anytime.
  • They are environmentally friendly as there is no need for paper.

Are electronic signatures legal in the USA?

Electronic signatures are widely acknowledged and accepted in all parts of the industrialized world, and they are also safer than traditional paper-based signatures and leave less room for forgery. Documents electronically signed have all the same legal protections as those that are signed with a pen. But are e-signatures and forms with digital signatures lawful in the states?

The short answer is yes.

So long as a candidate esignature is obtained in a proper way, it will have full validity under the law. In 2000, the U.S. federal government passed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and this confirms that electronic signatures constitute legally binding documents if all parties decide to sign digitally.

Moreover, electronic signatures are valid in all U.S. states and are given the same legal status as handwritten signatures under state laws. Therefore, by using an electronic signature field on a form, businesspeople can easily and legally issue legally binding contracts.

Are electronic signatures legal in the EU?

The answer is yes. In July 2016, the EU regulation on electronic identification and trust services, typically known as eIDAS was wholly adopted by all EU countries. eIDAS permits that any electronic signature is legally binding and acknowledged in European Union courts. Online transactions signed under eIDAS are completely in legal effect.

The eIDAS regulation sets a new legal framework for electronic identification systems in all European countries. eIDAS is directly applicable in all 27 EU Member States without any need for national enactment. Following the UK’s exit from the European Union (Brexit), the essence of eIDAS has been kept, with some small changes, in UK law.

 What are the legal effects of an electronic signature?

According to European Commission:

 “an electronic signature shall not be denied legal effect and admissibility as evidence in legal proceedings solely on the grounds that it is in an electronic form or that it does not meet the requirements for qualified electronic signatures.

Regarding qualified electronic signatures, they explicitly have the equivalent legal effect of handwritten signatures across all EU Member States.”

Electronic signature laws around the world

Around the world, more than 60 countries have established their own regulations and standards regarding electronic signatures and digital transactions. And, this growth is just beginning. Because the number of countries that have some form of legislation regarding e-signatures is continuing to grow. Here are some of the laws, acts, and policies:

  • Canada: Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
  • Australia: Electronic Transactions Act 1999
  • United Kingdom: Electronic Communications Act 2000
  • India: Information Technology Act 2000
  • Japan: Law Concerning Electronic Signatures and Certification Services
  • China: Electronic Signature Law of the People’s Republic of China (2004)
  • New Zealand: Electronic Transactions Act (2003)
  • United Nations: UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Signatures

So many more countries have also adopted some form of e-signature legislation or planning to enact one. Therefore it is almost entirely safe and legal to use this form of signature.

How to get electronic signatures with forms.app

forms.app is a powerful form builder that can help you with your needs. It offers hundreds of useful and ready-to-go templates and it is quite easy to use for any purpose. It is a reliable form builder that will meet your needs and assist you in the form creation process. If you want to learn how to create a form with an electronic signature field, you can visit the templates page of forms.app today. 

forms.app guarantees that its electronic signature solution complies with the effective acts. Additionally, all electronic documents/signing platforms should have a section for the client to agree to sign the agreement electronically. You can confirm this consent by including a checked agreement box or a verification step upon signing. You can also put fields to add the terms and conditions to leave no room for mess.

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