Overview of electronic signature law and its legality in Italy

Italy has recognized electronic signatures as legally valid since 2005 after the PbEG L 13 was passed. Then in 2016, eIDAS regulations standardized electronic signature laws across all EU member countries, including Italy.

The electronic signature law in Italy

According to electronic signature laws in Italy, a handwritten signature is not required to validate a business contract. Generally, if two parties reach a verbal, written, or electronic agreement, that contract is considered legally binding.

Additional evidence may be required to support that contract in a court of law. And Italy has a tiered legal model which means that it recognizes qualified electronic signatures as being a distinct type of eSignature.

An overview of Italy’s legal model

Like many European countries, Italy operates under a civil law system. Civil law systems are based on Roman law and favor a codified set of principles. In a civil law system, there is little room for judge-made laws.

However, Italy’s legal system does have some elements of a common-law system as well. It operates under a civil law system in regards to property, contracts, and criminal law.

Its legal system resembles a common law system when it comes to corporate law, banking, and constitutional law. Italy’s legal system is similar to the legal systems in Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Finland.

What are eIDAS regulations?

Italy is a member of the European Union, so it is held to eIDAS regulations. The eIDAS regulations were enacted in 2016 and it established a common legal framework for how electronic transactions are conducted.

What is a qualified electronic signature?

In particular, the eIDAS regulations help businesses validate the authenticity of electronic documents. One of the ways it does this is by establishing regulations for what constitutes a qualified electronic signature (QES).

Here are the standards a QES must meet:

  • It must be provided by a qualified electronic service provider
  • It must meet the requirements to be considered an advanced signature
  • It was created using a qualified creation device
  • It comes with a qualified signing certificate

When is a SES appropriate?

Unlike a QES, a standard electronic signature (SES) doesn’t have any properties that obviously identify who signed the document. An SES is typically a signature that is typed or uploaded.

However, an SES can be used on certain types of documents in Italy. Here are the situations where an SES would be appropriate:

  • Employee onboarding agreements
  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Employee contracts
  • Certain commercial agreements
  • Software licensing agreements
  • Sales agreements

Can I use PandaDoc software in Italy?

Yes, PandaDoc software complies with the electronic signature laws in Italy and eIDAS regulations. You can type, draw, or upload your signature using our software. And after each contract you sign, you’ll receive an electronic signing certificate for added security.