Overview of electronic signature law and its legality in Norway

Norway began recognizing electronic signatures as legally valid in 2001 with the passage of the Act on Electronic Signatures. This law gave eSignatures the same legal validity as handwritten signatures.

And Norway is a tiered country, which means it recognizes qualified electronic signatures (QES) as a distinct type of signature. However, an electronic signature cannot be considered inadmissible in a court of law simply for failing to meet the standards of a QES.

Are electronic signatures legal in Norway?

Yes, electronic signatures are legally valid for general business use in Norway. According to Norwegian law, a contract is considering legally binding anytime two individuals reach a verbal, written, or electronic agreement. Electronic signatures are also considered legally admissible, though additional proof may be required.

What is Norway’s legal model?

Norway is considered a civil law system, but it resembles many aspects of a common-law system as well. A civil law system tends to favor codified statutes whereas common law systems rely heavily on judicial rulings. Roughly 60% of the world operates under a civil law system.

Norway operates under a civil law system when it comes to contracts, criminal law, property, and succession. It closely resembles a common law system in regards to insurance, constitutional law, taxation, labor relations, and banking.

Norway’s legal model is similar to the legal systems in the following countries:

An overview of the Act on Electronic Signatures

Norway passed the Act on Electronic Signatures in 2001, and this law allowed Norwegian citizens to begin using electronic signatures to finalize contracts.

The Act on Electronic Signatures also outlined three distinct types of eSignatures:

  • Standard electronic signature (SES)
  • Advanced electronic signature (AES)
  • Qualified electronic signature (QES)

A QES is the most secure and trustworthy, so it’s generally considered the gold standard when it comes to electronic signatures. On the other hand, an SES is considered less trustworthy because there’s no obvious evidence of who signed the document.

When is an SES considered appropriate?

That being said, there are some instances when it’s entirely appropriate to use an SES on a business contract. Here are a few situations where an SES would be acceptable:

  • Consumer agreements
  • General HR documents, like employee onboarding documents or benefits paperwork
  • Certain intellectual property licenses
  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Sales agreements

A handwritten signature will be required for documents that need to be notarized, marriage contracts, termination noticed, and loan agreements.

Can PandaDoc software be used in Norway

Yes, PandaDoc eSignature software complies with the existing eSignature laws in Norway. With our software, you can easily create secure and legally binding contracts. And after a contract is signed and finalized, you’ll receive an electronic signing certificate for added security.