RPost

We’re not just securing email and e-signing.

We’ve been improving productivity across Germany by speeding transactions with
e-signatures and electronic contracts.

And we’ve been doing it with them since 2005.

Electronic Signature Laws and Legality in Germany

  • Court Admissible

Yes.

  • RSign Used in Business

Yes, since 2000, and since 2005 in Germany.

  • Geography

Germany

  • Recommended Service

E-signatures in RSign, RMail, and RForms services.

Common Use

E-signatures for use with local and international business, within financial services, insurance, sales proposals and contracts, NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements), employment letters, scope or statements of work, equipment leasing, legal, human resources, purchase and procurement, real estate, and property management industries and functional areas, among other uses.

Watch full video of Nicole Stiller discuss RSign at Optimize!2020 and RSign at Optimize!2020 in German.

opening quote

With RSign, we can be more efficient with our time – that is the biggest point for us. We are very happy with RSign.

closing quote
Nicole Stiller at Jungheinrich

Nicole Stiller

Jungheinrich

Legal Aspects

In accordance with the Civil Code of German (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, BGB) and the eIDAS regulation, electronic signatures are legally recognized and enforceable in Germany.

Scope of Electronic Signatures in Germany

Germany operates under Civil Law adopted from Roman Law.

Per Sec. 125 and Sec. 126 of BGB, electronic signatures have equivalent credibility as wet ink signatures on electronic contracts or agreements. As a member of European Union, Germany complies with the eIDAS regulation for electronic signatures.

Germany created the legal framework, “The Act on Digital Signatures,” for electronic signatures, before the Electronic Signatures Directive 1999/93/EC and eIDAS (electronic Identification and Trust Services) regulation was enforced. This earlier German Law on electronic signatures helped other European Union member countries and the European Union advance their understanding of using e-signatures.

eIDAS Regulation and German Laws for Electronic Signatures

Currently, Germany regulates electronic signatures combining Sec. 125 & Sec.126 of BGB and eIDAS regulations.

As per the eIDAS regulation, the European Union recognises three types of e-signatures – Simple Electronic Signatures, Advanced Electronic Signatures and Qualified Electronic Signatures.

Generally, the requirements of electronic signatures to comply with German law include:

  • Identifying the signatory with linked to e-signature validation data;
  • Agreement by both parties of a contract to use electronic signatures; and
  • Authentication capabilities of the resulting record of the electronic contract transaction to server as proof in Germany courts.

Considering eIDAS and the German-specific electronic signature laws, RSign, RMail e-signatures, and RForms are a valid form of legal electronic signature in Germany and standard use of these services fall within the Simple Electronic Signature and Advanced Electronic Signature qualification of the eIDAS regulations. These e-signature services provide a secured electronic signature platform to meet the statutory requirements of electronic signatures in Germany.

RSign, RMail, and RForms e-signatures return a robust forensic audit trail and use cryptography to logically associate and digitally seal the original document sent for e-signature with Internet forensics associated with each signer, the signed copy, and uniform timestamps of each step of the process. The RSign, RMail, and RForms cryptographic seals render the e-sign record with its certified electronic signature certificate and/or Registered Receipt™ email record, an authenticable proof record.

RSign has additional identity verification services (to meet the principles of Qualified Electronic Signatures) but these are not ordinarily needed for financial services, human resources, equipment leasing, sales, purchasing, real estate, property management, and other typical business agreements. Generally, a Qualified Electronic Signature is not needed, according to German law.

Are There any Exclusions for the Use of e-Signatures in Germany?

There are some exclusions to the use of e-signatures in Germany.

The government of Germany has declared guidelines to detail the legal structure that binds electronic transactions, electronic documents, and electronic signatures for businesses. The guidelines include the following exclusions:

  • Notice of termination of an employment contract (Kündigung eines Arbeitsverhältnisses, section 623 BGB);
  • Consumer loans (cf. Section 492 BGB);
  • Issuance of a declaration of surety (Erteilung einer Bürgschaftserkärung, Section 766 BGB); and
  • Issuance of a declaration of debt acknowledgement (Erteilung einer Schuldanerkenntniserklärung, Section 780 et seq. BGB).

Laws Referenced

Civil Code of Germany (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, BGB) and eIDAS (electronic Identification, Authentication and Trusted Services).

Disclaimer: Neither RPost nor its affiliates provide legal opinions. The information on RPost and its affiliates and products websites is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice or to provide any legal opinions. Laws and regulations change from time to time and neither RPost nor its affiliates guarantee that all of the information on RPost and its affiliates’ websites are current, correct, or with sufficient detail for the purpose of each reader. You should consult your legal counsel for specific jurisdictional details and other issues.
Tradenames are owned by the named company. Service benefit is summary, not intended to be a case study.​ RPost technology is patented. RMail, RSign, and RPost are trademarks owned by RPost.