Technology is evolving on a daily basis making the digital tides higher than ever, to keep pace with this digitalization it’s become a need of the hour to innovate, create and accept the digital transformation. Electronic signatures are a legal concept of digitalization and referred to as data in electronic form. These types of signatures are meant to enable secure electronic transactions.

Electronic Signatures in Finland

Under the Act on Strong Electronic Identification and Electronic Signatures, Finland has legally recognized electronic signatures since 2009 and after the introduction of Electronic Identification and Authentication and Trust Services eIDAS in July 2016, these regulations standardized across Europe.

Electronic Identification and Authentication and Trust Services eIDAS is technology-neutral and classified electronic signatures into three types i.e. Standard electronic Signature, Advanced Electronic Signature, a special type of eSignature that require following conditions to execute;

  • It is created using means that are solely under the signatory’s control.
  • It is uniquely linked to the signatory.
  • It is linked to other electronic data in such a way that any alteration in it can be detected easily.

Use of Standard Electronic Signatures

Finland allows standard electronic signatures in the following cases;

  • HR documents such as employment contracts, new employee onboarding processes.
  • Agreements of consumers that include new retail account opening documents.
  • The license of new intellectual property and Intangible property transfers.
  • Procedural communications with the courts such as writs of summons, pleadings, etc.
  • Corporate commercial agreements between entities including NDAs, procurement documents, sales agreements.
  • Most real estate documents including lease agreements, purchase and sales contracts.

Use of Advanced and Qualified Electronic Signatures

  • According to the Finnish Companies Act (624/2006), Advanced Electronic Signature or Qualified Electronic Signature is valid for signing corporate documents like minutes of shareholder meetings or Board meetings, memoranda of association and share certificates.
  • Only Qualified Electronic Signature is allowed in prenuptial agreement according to Finland Marriage Act (234/1929).
  • Only Qualified Electronic Signature is allowed in mortgage application according to Finland Code of Real Estate (540/1995).

Use cases that are not appropriate for electronic signatures or digital transaction management

Finnish law forbids the use of electronic signatures in some cases that include explicit requirements like handwritten signatures or formal notarial process that are not compatible with electronic signatures or digital transaction management. These cases include;

  • A real property transfers and deeds except for leases (Finland Code of Real Estate 540/1995).
  • Testaments and witnesses (Code of Inheritance 40/1965).