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Apart from eIDAS, Chapter III of the French Civil Code is the primary legal document regulating electronic signatures in France.

Paramount Conditions

Identity, Integrity, and Reliability are three paramount conditions which provide sanctity to electronic signatures under French laws. An electronic document holds that same amount of legal validity and admissibility as evidence as that of a paper document provided that:

Legal sanctity of electronic signatures and e-documents under French Laws

According to French law, contracts are valid, if both parties have agreed in a verbal, written, or electronic manner. Contracts are generally valid if legally competent parties enter into an agreement, regardless of their agreement being verbal, electronic, or recorded on paper (Articles 1109, 1172, and 1173 of the French Civil Code).
Further, any kind of electronic signature is admissible as evidence and shall be deemed reliable by a judge provided it passes through the litmus test of identity, integrity and reliability.
Decree N° 2017-1416, which was introduced on September 28, 2017, provides the presumption of reliability of an electronic signature process when the e-signature process uses a qualified electronic signature.

Local regulation governing the use of certificates for e-signatures in France :

eIDAS: consistent with eIDAS, which is directly applicable in France, QES can only be created using “qualified certificates for electronic signatures,” which may only be issued by qualified trust service providers. Additionally, eIDAS also looks over the application procedure for trust service providers to get the status of qualified trust service providers.
French regulation : In France, certificates are issued by the Agence Nationale de la Sécurité des Systèmes d’Information (ANSSI). It is the regulatory authority concerning services that issue qualified certificates for electronic signatures, electronic stamps, etc.

Use cases of electronic signature in France:

The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed our lifestyles and how one conducts business. Most non-essential companies have established completely remote work setups. This “new normal” has concentrated more attention on electronic means of transactions. The “new normal” in the age of Covid-19 proceeds to facilitate the use of eSignatures.

Documents that cannot be e-signed in France:

DISCLAIMER

Certinal is making available the information and materials in this article for informational purposes only and is meant to help companies understand eSignature’s application in a legal framework. Laws change rapidly, and Certinal makes every reasonable effort to keep the content of this article current; hence Certinal makes no claims or representations that the information contained in this article is true, accurate, correct, or current. The law is different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and even similar laws may be interpreted differently in different courts or other places. Since these factors differ according to individuals and businesses, Certinal is not liable for any consequence of any action taken by any third party relying on material/ information provided under this article. The contents hereof should not be construed as legal advice in any manner whatsoever. In cases you require any assistance, you must seek independent legal advice.
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