Is e-signature legal? Absolutely.
A guide to electronic signatures published by the UK government can be accessed here:
The UK government divides electronic signatures into three groups:
- Simple electronic signatures – these include scanned signatures and tickbox plus declarations
- Advanced electronic signatures – can identify the user, is unique to them, is under the sole control of the user and is attached to a document in a way that it becomes invalidated if the contents are changed (this is the type of signature currently offered by MyDocSafe)
- Qualified electronic signatures – an advanced electronic signature with a digital certificate encrypted by a secure signature creation device e.g. smart card
Current regulatory regime in the European Union.
From 1 July 2016 the current regulatory framework has changed. The Directive on Electronic Signatures (1999/93/EC) has been replaced with a new framework, commonly called e-IDAS (910/2014/EU). E-IDAS provides mutual recognition of e-signatures, e-seals, time stamping, website authentication and e-registered delivery services among EU member states which adopt the regulation. E-IDAS also introduces the advanced electronic signature concept as well as the definition of qualified and non-qualified trust services. The aim of E-IDAS is to build public confidence in the security of digital transactions and to encourage them to use electronic signatures. Since E-IDAS is not a directive, it does not need to be approved by individual EU countries.
You can view the Regulation here:
It is important to seek permission from all parties to conduct business electronically.
Real property transfers, wills and some legally required notices to consumers are excluded.
Recent developments on electronic deeds (documents that need to be signed with a witness).
Technological advancement is finally starting to get noticed. A recent note by Law Society has recognised that ‘if the witness is co-located with the signee’, then it does not matter if the act of signing is done on paper or via an electronic means. This opens up the opportunity to use electronic signature facilities for deeds: