One of the key elements of an official document is the signature that accompanies it. Although the concept might sound familiar, it actually varies widely depending on the situation. Here, we define a signature as a permanent mark linked to a document and associated with a specific person, which is unique to this person and proof of an implicit or explicit intention. The quality of a signature varies according to the six following attributes:
If the signature is considered reliable with respect to these six attributes, it is deemed to be “robust.” From a legal perspective, the signature must also comply with legal requirements. If it does not, it is deemed to be “illegal.” In law, it’s not about shades of grey; everything is black or white. As a result, it is impossible to affirm that any one form of signature, even digital, is “always legal.” To ensure that a particular form of signature is legal, a lawyer must be consulted since several factors need to be taken into consideration: the applicable jurisdiction (Country? Province?), applicable field (Succession? Contracts?), professional requirements, applicable periods, etc. The fact remains that, in spite of this cautionary note and given the present state of information technology, digital signatures offer the highest degree of reliability of all forms of electronic signatures and even outweigh physical handwritten signatures. Want to know more? Refer to our articles on electronic signatures and digital signatures.