Are electronic signatures legal across the world? The simplest answer to this question is yes.
There are many countries, 60 to be price, which has passed laws to make electronic signatures fully legal and admissible by law. These legislations provide e-signatures a solid foundation to stand on.
Without these laws, businesses especially the e-commerce industry which relies heavily on e-signatures and transactions would certainly collapse.
Signing legal documents electronically has become very commonplace these days due to advancements in technology. Some countries that have passed laws to make e-signatures such as a PDF signature legally binding are as under.
Electronic Signatures are fully Legal in the United States
Are electronic signatures legally binding in the United States of America? Thanks to the ESIGN Act, enacted in 200, they are.
In fact, ESIGN was the first ever act in the history of American that gave legal status to documents and contracts signed through electronic signatures.
Furthermore, both handwritten and electronic signatures enjoy the same status in the country.
Are Electronic Signatures Legal in the UK?
The rules regarding electronic signatures in United Kingdome are similar to that of the United States.
In the UK, Electronic Signatures Regulation Act 2002 regulates all the online transactions and contracts having e-signatures. Similarly, e-signatures are legally binding in the UK thanks to the Electronic Communications Act, also passed in 2002.
In Canada, the rules regarding electronic signatures are slightly different to the USA and UK. In Canada, both parties must agree to accept the legality of electronic signatures to make the electronically signed document legally binding.
Similarly, the handwritten and electronic signatures are treated equally in Canada thanks to Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
Electronic Signatures in Australia
Apart from signatures related to migration and citizenship, all types of e-signatures are acceptable in the court as proof. The major act regulating e-signatures and online documentation and transactions is the Electronic Transactions Act of 1999.
However, different states have a different take on the legality of e-signatures related to power of attorney agreements, wills, and real estate.
China and the Russian Federation
Are electronic signatures legally binding and enforceable in China and Russia? Yes, they are because of laws like Electronic Signatures Law of the Republic of China.
However, in China, handwritten signatures are still considered superior to electronic signatures. Similarly, they are not likely to be credible in contracts regarding marriages, inheritance, adaptation and real estate.
As far as Russia is concerned, contracts don't need to have handwritten signatures to be legal. They can use e-signatures while signing legal documents. In some cases, they can verbally reach an agreement as well.
Electronic Signatures in the European Union
As mentioned above, electronic signatures are legal in the UK. What about their status in countries which are part of the European Union.
In such countries, all concerned must agree in advance before signing a contract to make e-signatures legally admissible. Electronic Identification and Authentication Services Regulation is the act which regulates e-signatures in these countries.
Other Countries with E-Signature Regulations
Other notable countries where e-signatures are legal to include Brazil, India, South Korea, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Japan etc. Similarly, countries like Pakistan, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Malaysia have also adopted some sort of electronic signature legislation.