Are e-signatures legally binding?
For the absolute majority of all agreements, the answer is a solid “yes”. Contract law world wide typically honours any agreement where the parties’ intentions to become bound are clearly manifested.
A handshake, phone recording, fax, paper signature and e-signature are all valid when the principle of freedom of form applies. Nevertheless, there are exceptions to this rule, i.e. where local statutory requirements for specific form may either preclude the use of electronic signatures, or require a specific level of electronic signature. For example, an agreement for the purchase of real estate in Sweden requires a handwritten signature (on paper) and according to German law, a contract for temporary employment may only be signed either with a handwritten signature or with a qualified electronic signature.
Scroll down to continue ⤵
If a contract is disputed, whether electronic or on paper, you must generally be able to show evidence of three key requirements:
The signing parties’ intent to enter into a binding agreement.
The signing parties’ identity.
The document’s integrity, i.e. that it has not been altered.
Scrive eSign helps you capture evidence of intent, but fulfilment of this criteria is also dependent on how clearly this is stated in your contract. As for the second and third requirements, continue to read below on how Scrive offers solutions for this.
Evidence of signing parties’ identities can be secured by one or several means, e.g.
Physical id verification
The strength of the evidence depends on what means are used. Per the standard configuration in Scrive eSign, the signing parties are invited to sign through email and the signatures are thus linked to the respective email-addresses of the parties.
When used in addition to email-invitation, PIN by SMS can be used as a two-factor authentication, providing additional evidence of the identity of a signing party. It is your responsibility as the sender of the document, to ensure that it is sent to the email and mobile number that belong to the correct recipient.
If you need stronger authentication, Scrive eSign can be combined with a large number of eIDs and ID verification services, e.g. Swedish BankID, Norwegian BankID, MitID, FTN, itsme, iDIN, and SmartID.
Irrespective of what means have been used in a signature process, Scrive eSign collects and then records the relevant information that can be used as evidence of identity in the evidence package.
It is absolutely essential to be able to prove that the document has not been altered after the signing parties have signed it. E-signing a document without integrity protection is like signing a contract on a whiteboard in the analogue world. That is why Scrive seals all documents with a digital signature. This ensures that any changes to the document can be detected.
Scrive supports two different methods for document integrity protection, KSI (blockchain based technology) and PKI (certificate based technology). We believe that KSI has some clear advantages both in terms of security and the lack of an expiration date, which is why this is the technology we apply by default. We do however also believe in choice, which is why we offer both.
To help you minimise your business risk, every document signed with Scrive has:
A comprehensive evidence package with a detailed audit trail.
A digital seal ensuring that the maintained integrity of a signed document can be verified independently of Scrive.
Scrive eSign tested in courts
Documents signed with Scrive conform to global contract law and are generally enforceable in courts. We have been around since 2010 and millions of documents are signed through our services every month. It is thus not surprising that documents signed with Scrive eSign from time to time appear as evidence in court proceedings. From experience, we know that our documents and our evidence package have stood the test.
An e-sign service is only as good as the trust of the party who signs and the party who accepts the signed document.
Scrive has earned the trust of hundreds of companies, including some of the strongest global brands. Each month they rely on us to sign hundreds of thousands of documents, in over 190 countries. Customer enthusiasm to e-sign is very high, and third parties that don’t yet support receiving electronic documents, for technical or company policy reasons, are becoming increasingly rare.