Overview of electronic signature law and its legality in Poland
Poland began recognizing electronic signatures as legally valid in 2001 with the passage of the Electronic Signature Act. In 2016, the eIDAS regulations standardized electronic signature laws across all EU-member countries.
Are electronic signatures legal in Poland?
Yes, according to Polish law, electronic signatures can be used on general business contracts. However, exceptions may apply for certain types of contracts, which we’ll outline in more detail below.
Poland operates under a tiered legal model, which means that it recognizes qualified electronic signatures (QES) as a distinct type of signature. A QES is considered to be equal to a handwritten signature and can be used as evidence in court.
Poland’s legal model
Poland’s legal model is a combination of civil law systems and common law systems, though it is primarily based on a civil law system. Civil law systems are common in most European countries.
It is based on Roman law and favors a set of codified principles. Civil law systems put less emphasis on judicial rulings than common law systems.
In comparison, common law systems favor legal precedents. Common law systems strive to create consistency by relying on a standard interpretation of previous rulings.
Poland’s legal model is similar to the following countries:
When is an SES appropriate?
When eIDAS regulations passed in 2016, it recognized three distinct types of electronic signatures: standard electronic signatures, advanced electronic signatures, and qualified electronic signatures.
A standard electronic signature (SES) is considered the least secure type of eSignature. These signatures are often typed or scanned, and there are no obvious identifying properties of the signer.
However, this doesn’t mean that an SES is never appropriate for general business contracts. You can use an SES on the following types of contracts in Poland:
- Non-disclosure agreements
- Purchase orders
- Commercial lease agreements
- Sales terms
- Sales agreements
- Distribution agreements
When is a QES required?
A qualified electronic signature is the most secure type of electronic signature. It is created using a Qualified Electronic Signature Creation Device and has properties that are unique to the person signing the document.
According to eIDAS regulations, a qualified electronic signature is given the same legal weight as a handwritten signature. A QES is required for certain types of HR documents, property rights agreements, and property transfer agreements.
However, some types of documents may still require a handwritten signature. Documents that need to be notarized, wills, marriage contracts, and government documents will likely require a handwritten signature.
Can you use PandaDoc software in Poland?
Yes, our eSignature software complies with the existing eSignature laws in Poland and eIDAS regulations. This means you can use our software to quickly create and sign business contracts. You can draw, type, or upload your signature using PandaDoc software. And you’ll receive an electronic signing certificate for every contract for added security.