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A legal framework for electronic signatures

The new EU Directive on electronic signatures entered into force on 19 January 2000, and establishes a legally binding framework for electronic signatures in the European Union.

Providing certain conditions are met, electronic signatures will now enjoy the equivalent legal re...
The new EU Directive on electronic signatures entered into force on 19 January 2000, and establishes a legally binding framework for electronic signatures in the European Union.

Providing certain conditions are met, electronic signatures will now enjoy the equivalent legal recognition as their hand written counterparts. The Directive also covers the legal requirements for certification services to issue qualified certificates and recommendations for secure signature verification. This is intended 'to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market'.

The Directive does not cover aspects related to the conclusion or validity of contracts or other legal obligations where there are requirements as regards form prescribed by national or Community law. Neither does it affect rules and limits contained in national or Community law governing the use of documents.

Member States will now bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive before 19 July 2001.

The European Commission has been charged with reviewing the operation of this Directive, and to report to the European Parliament and to the Council by 19 July 2003.

Source: Official Journal of the European Communities

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