e-Signing Trade Documents Globally:

Consultancy Services in Country-Specific Legal & Regulatory Compliance

Individuals and organizations represent their digital identities through the use of digital signatures in many applications - from secure email to two factor authentication to document signing.

 

Trust has become essential in the digital age. It must underpin how you organize and run your business so that you can be successful. By building trust you will be able to maximise your growth potential and manage the risks in the opportunities available in the digital age.

 

A properly implemented electronic signature scheme helps build trust between traders operating in the cross-border B2B space. When you have to e-sign commercial trade documents globally, you need to comply with the variety of electronic signature laws applicable across the globe. In doing so, our legal team would invariably help you rest assured that all the globally exchanged trade documents in the electronic form comply with relevant country-specific e-signature/ e-transaction laws. 

We are experienced in legal compliance auditing in the subject area of e-signature/ e-transaction laws in most countries where such laws are in operation.

If you feel that the job of making legal compliance in cross-border B2B transactions should be handled by our legal team, please do not hesitate to contact us anytime with questions on how we can assist you. Your investment will pay off in reduced costs, improved efficiency, better document integrity, and a broader market. 

A Snapshot of e-Signatures

Electronic signature: An electronic symbol or process attached to a document (e.g. contract, invoice, etc) and executed or accepted by a person with the intent to sign the document or record. Examples include clicking an "Accept" button online, signing on a touch pad to approve a credit card purchase or typing one's name on the signature line.

Digital signature: An electronic signature that uses an encrypted digital certificate to authenticate the identity of the signer. Digital signatures are referred to as advanced electronic signatures, qualified electronic signatures or other terms in different jurisdictions.

 

Types of electronic signature law

Worldwide, there are generally three types of electronic signature laws:

“Minimalist” or “permissive” laws allow for the broad enforceability of e-signatures with few legal restrictions. With some exceptions, minimalist laws permit the use of electronic signatures for virtually all uses and are generally technology-neutral. Example: the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN Act) of the United States. Countries with minimalist laws include: United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada.

 

“Two-Tier” laws generally permit the use of electronic signatures but provide greater evidentiary weight to digital signatures. Many countries have enacted a two-tier approach to legislation governing electronic signatures. This approach is a hybrid of minimalist and prescriptive laws. Two-tier laws accept all or most electronic signatures on a technology-neutral basis like minimalist laws, but they also create a class of approved technologies like prescriptive laws. The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on Electronic Signatures and the new European Union regulation on electronic identification and trust services (eIDAS) that has taken effect on 1 July 2016 are two-tier laws. However it is noteworthy that even though these laws may dictate a specific process to create digital signatures, most of these countries also allow private parties to agree between themselves what will be an acceptable form of signature. 

Countries with two-tier laws include: EU countries, China, India and South Korea.

 

“Prescriptive” laws are relatively rare. They require a specific technical method to electronically sign a document, and they dictate the types of signature technologies that are acceptable. Some prescriptive laws go so far as to deny the legal rights to an electronic transaction, unless they are secured using approved technology. Only a few countries have prescriptive e-signature laws, including Brazil, Israel, and Malaysia.