Are electronic signatures legal in Sweden?
Sweden operates under Civil Law systems which are arranged according to a plan or a system and come from Roman law. Civil law systems are based on:
- Generally a written constitution based on specific codes (e.g. civil code, codes covering corporate law, administrative law, tax law and constitutional law) preserving basic rights and duties
- There is little scope for judge-made law in civil, criminal and commercial courts (only legislative enactments are considered binding for all)
- In some civil law systems, e.g. Germany, writings of legal scholars have significant influence on the courts
- Courts specific to the underlying codes – there are therefore usually separate constitutional court, administrative court and civil court systems that opine on consistency of legislation and administrative acts with and interpret that specific code;
- Less freedom of contract – many provisions are implied into a contract by law and parties cannot contract out of certain provisions.
A civil law system is generally more prescriptive than a common law system.
Sweden’s legal model is a tiered one. This means that Qualified Electronic Signature are seen as a legal type of e-signature. This doesn’t mean that a non-QES e-Signature can’t be submitted in court, but it will need additional evidence to support it.
Swedish law highlights that contracts don’t need a handwritten signature to be seen as credible. They are seen as such as long as legally able individuals have reached an agreement (this can be by agreeing verbally, electronically or by physically signing. This is shown under Chapter 35 Section 1 of the Swedish Code of Judicial Procedure, but may require extra evidence to support it).
Since July 2016, the eIDAS regulation has meant that all companies in the EU comply with each other’s e-Signature regulations. Standardising them across Europe.