Overview of electronic signature law and its legality in Sweden
Sweden has legally recognized digital signatures since 2000 when the European Union passed the Qualified Electronic Signatures Act.
When the eIDAS Regulation passed in July 2016, these regulations were standardized across all EU member states.
This means electronic signatures are legal to use in business settings, though there may be certain exceptions depending on the transaction type. And eSignatures are also admissible in court.
Note: Our built-in eSignature software is legally binding and ESIGN and UETA approved.
A summary of Sweden’s legal model
Sweden operates under a Civil Law system
A Civil Law system is a legal system that originated in Europe and operates within the framework of Roman law. The system centers on a written constitution that is based on certain core principles.
Here is an overview of how Civil Law systems work:
- There is a written constitution that preserves the rights of its citizens.
- Written statutes and legal codes are constantly updated to establish legal processes.
- There is little emphasis on judicial precedent, unlike common law systems.
- In certain systems, legal scholars can influence judicial courts.
- Most commonly found in Europe, Central and South America, Africa, and many countries in Asia.
Regulations affecting businesses
The parliament is responsible for passing new laws in Sweden while the government may issue regulations.
Here is a list of regulations that could affect how businesses and service providers operate in Sweden:
- Contracts Act (1915)
- Sales of Goods Act (1990)
- Consumer Sales Act (1990)
- E-commerce Act (2002)
- Electronic Communications Act (2003)
- Product Safety Act (2004)
- Price Information Act (2004)
- Distance and Off-Premises Contracts Act (2005)
- Marketing Practices Act (2008)
- Consumer Credit Act (2010)
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (2016)
- Supplementary GDPR provisions that Sweden added in 2018
eSignature laws in Sweden
According to Swedish law, a contract is considered valid if two legally competent parties reach a verbal, written, or electronic agreement. However, they will need to prove that the contract is valid in court.
According to Chapter 35 Section 1 of the Swedish Code of Judicial Procedure, electronic records can be used to prove the authenticity of a contract.
Note: For additional security, we’ll send you an electronic certificate for every signed document.
The eIDAS Regulation
The eIDAS Regulation came into effect in July 2016 and established a legal framework for electronic signatures across the EU.
It defines three different types of electronic signatures:
- Standard Electronic Signatures (SES);
- Advanced Electronic Signatures (AES);
- Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES).
In tiered legal models like Sweden, QES are given special legal status and required in certain types of transactions. That’s because a QES is assumed to be more authentic than other types of eSignatures.
However, other types of eSignatures can be presented in legal settings if the individual presenting it can prove the signature is valid.
When is a Standard Electronic Signature (SES) enough?
In the following situations, an SES is appropriate and a QES isn’t necessary:
- HR documents – This includes employment contracts, non-disclosure agreements, benefits paperwork, and employee onboarding materials but excludes employee termination notices.
- Consumer agreements – An SES can be used for consumer agreements like credit card accounts, new retail accounts, sales terms, service agreements, order confirmations, and software licenses.
- Lease agreements – This includes residential and commercial lease agreements.
- Intellectual property licenses – This includes patents, trademarks, copyrights, and other intangible property transfers.
Are there any instances where eSignatures aren’t appropriate?
Yes, eSignatures aren’t appropriate in situations where explicit requirements state otherwise.
Here are a few situations where a handwritten signature would be necessary:
- Documents that must be notarized;
- Signing share certificates;
- Signing issue certificates;
- Employee termination letters;
- Documents that transfer the rights to an asset or property;
- Certain corporate documents or certificates.
Note: Make your documents more secure by creating protected PDFs and access codes.
Can PandaDoc software be used in Sweden?
You can use our software to conduct business transactions and these electronic documents are admissible in court. Our eSignature software makes it easier for you to create new electronic forms and contracts.
The PandaDoc library of contract templates means you can create new documents in less time. And once you’re finished, our software allows you to draw, type, or upload your signature to new agreements.