Digital Signature Law – EU Laws Part-1

Looking for the digital signature law in your country? are you wondering what is the e-Signature law at other countries? here are a few of the the answers.

Here is a brief recap on the digital signature laws that are in place around the EU in different countries. This is the first part of a two part article regarding digital signature laws in the EU.

CountryLawe-Signature validity status categoryEuropean E-signature compliance
UK1999/93/EC Directive on Electronic SignaturesElectronic Communications Act 20001Yes
France1999/93/EC Directive on Electronic Signatures“Loi portant adaptation du droit de la preuve aux technologies de l’information et relative à la signature electronique”, Law No. 2000-230 2Yes
Germany1999/93/EC Directive on Electronic SignaturesFramework conditions for electronic signatures from 16th May, 2001 (SigG, BGBl I 2001, 876)First Act on the Amendment to the Signature Act from 4th January, 2005 (1. SigÄndG, BGBl I 2005, 2) Electronic Signature Ordinance from 16th November, 2001 (SigV, BGBl I 2001, 3074). 3Yes
Italy1999/93/EC Directive on Electronic SignaturesDigital Administration Code of Italy CAD – Legislative Decree 7 March 2005 n. 82 3Yes
Norway1999/93/EC Directive on Electronic SignaturesThe Electronic Signatures Act of 15 June 2001 3Yes
Sweden1999/93/EC Directive on Electronic SignaturesAct on Qualified Electronic Signatures (Sw: Lag (2000:832) om kvalificerade elektroniska signaturer). The law applies to certificate providers established in Sweden and who issue qualified certificates to the public. URL: (English).Government Ordinance on Qualified Electronic Signatures (Sw: Förordning (2000:833) om kvalificerade electroniska signaturer), in which the National Post and Telecom Agency is appointed supervisory authority.Government Ordinance on the financing of the National Post and Telecom’s operations (Sw: Förordning (1999:836) om finansiering av Post- och telestyrelsens verksamhet), in which the fees for Certificate Providers issuing qualified certificates are regulated.Post and Telecom Agency’s regulations on fees according to the Act on Qualified Electronic Signatures (Sw: Post- och telestyrelsens föreskrifter om avgifter enligt lagen (2000:832) om kvalificerade elektroniska signaturer; PTSFS 2002:1), which stipulates fees for certificate providers falling under the Act on Qualified Electronic Signatures. URL: (Swedish). 3Yes
Denmark1999/93/EC Directive on Electronic SignaturesDanish law for qualified electronic signaturesNEMID for Internet Banking 3Yes
Finland1999/93/EC Directive on Electronic SignaturesFinnish Sale of Goods Act Act on Electronic Signatures (14/2003) 1Yes
Ireland 1999/93/EC Directive on Electronic SignaturesElectronic Commerce Act 2000 1Yes
Spain1999/93/EC Directive on Electronic SignaturesSpanish Law 59/2003 1Yes
Portugal1999/93/EC Directive on Electronic SignaturesDecree-Law 234/2000 1Yes
Benelux(Holland- Belgium- Luxemburg) 1999/93/EC Directive on Electronic SignaturesBelgium – Belgian Act of 9 July 2001 on electronic signatures and certification service providersHolland – Act on electronic signatures of 8 May 2003 2Yes
Hungary1999/93/EC Directive on Electronic SignaturesAct on Digital Signature 3Yes

The following laws cover most of the above countries as described in details in the table above:

  • US: The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (“E-Signature Act”) became effective in the US on October 1, 2000.
  • European Union: The 1999/93/EC Directive on Electronic Signatures was signed in December 1999 to establish a common framework for electronic signatures. Most of European countries rely on this act and their local laws are based on the EC directive.
  • UK: The UK has adopted and implemented certain provisions of the EU’s Electronic Commerce Directive in the Electronic Communications Act 2000, which makes e-signatures legally admissible in the UK.

Electronic signatures law status in leading countries worldwide:

Category 1: Countries where electronic signatures for business are deemed the same as a written signature under law
Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Finland, India, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States

Category 2: Countries where electronic signatures for business are deemed enforceable, but not necessarily the same as a written signature
Belgium, China, Czech Republic, France, Poland, Romania, Russia, Taiwan

Category 3: Countries with an unclear status in practice

Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Macao, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Uruguay