Currently, the United Kingdom is in the transition of withdrawing from the European Union. Until the transition is completed, the United Kingdom will still follow eIDAS, the legal framework that recognizes eSignatures as legally valid in the EU.
eIDAS applied to the United Kingdom in 2016 and states that “An electronic signature shall not be denied legal effect and admissibility as evidence in legal proceedings solely on the grounds that it is in an electronic form or that it does not meet the requirements for qualified electronic signatures.” Following the eIDAS regulation, eSignatures are now legally valid in all EU member states.
Regulation (EU) No 910/2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (the “eIDAS Regulation”)
The eIDAS regulation defines three types of eSignature (SES, AES, QES) and is a new regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the European Single Market. It establishes a legal framework for people, companies (in particular small to mid-size enterprises) and public administrations to safely access services and execute transactions digitally across all the EU member states.
eIDAS entered into force on 17 September 2014 and applied from 1 July 2016. It repealed and replaced the Electronic Signatures Directive 1999/93/EC, a European Union directive on the use of eSignatures in electronic contracts within the EU.
標準電子簽章 (SES) 是實際存在的電子資料，以邏輯方式連接到其他電子資料 (例如文件)，由該電子資料的簽約者用於簽署文件。密碼、PIN 碼和掃描的簽名等多種電子工具，都可以視為 SES。
進階電子簽章 (AES) 必須確保該簽名唯連結至簽署者，且能夠識別其身分。必須使用電子簽名建立資料來建立此簽章，而簽署者能以高層級的機密度，在單獨控制下使用該資料。
A qualified electronic signature (QES) is a stricter form of AES and the only signature type given the same legal value as handwritten signatures. It is an advanced electronic signature with a qualified digital certificate that has been created by a qualified signature creation device (QSCD). The QSCD has to be issued by a qualified EU Trust Service Provider (TSP) on the European Union Trust List (EUTL.)
The law does not exclude specific types of agreements. However, certain types of agreements such as wills, court documents, land titles, may still require written, paper communications.