eSignature has enabled legal and commercial to agree terms without pen and paper. But what’s the state of play regarding recognition of eSigning around the world?
This is a chapter from our Modern Contract Handbook, featuring insights from expert authors on every stage of the contract process.
According to P&S Market Research, the e-signature global market will exceed $9bn by 2023. Despite this growth, there’s still a reluctance in some markets to fully adopt electronic signing.
eSigning has proliferated across much of the world, and many regulatory authorities have given it their blessing. According to Forbes, “businesses achieve 70 - 80% efficiency improvements after removing manual processes to adopt digital technologies like electronic signature solutions.”
At the highest level, eSignature provides the same legal standing as a handwritten signature as long as it adheres to the requirements of the specific regulation it was created under. These regulations vary across the world, from eIDAS (electronic identification, authentication and trust services) for the EU to the eSIGN Act & UETA framework in the US, amongst many others.
“Businesses achieve 70 - 80% efficiency improvements after removing manual processes to adopt digital technologies like electronic signature solutions.”
It’s important to note that despite eSignature’s growing popularity, it’s yet to become standard in every country. Several countries across the Middle East and Asia don’t currently support eSignature, either due to a reluctance to adopt, or because they follow a different legal structure that cannot account for the validity of e-signatures.
eSignature: advanced or qualified?
Various different levels of eSignature exist, and different jurisdictions pitch their regulatory requirements at different levels.
Advanced eSignature (AES)
At this level of eSignature:
- The signatory can be uniquely identified
- The signatory must have sole control of the key that was used to create an electronic signature
- The signature itself should be able to identify potentially-tampered data
- If the data has been tampered with, the signature must invalidate itself
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