Legal validity vs. provability of the signature
Legal validityA valid contract exists when there are concordant declarations of intent. The law grants the contracting parties freedom to decide how declarations of intent can be concluded. Contractual partners can decide for themselves whether they conclude an agreement orally, in writing on paper or electronically.
ProvabilityA fact is provable if something can be understood through facts and evidence. A scanned signature has very little provability because it is merely an image of the signature. No other data is collected and attached to the document.
- Writing speed
- Writing direction
- Writing breaks
- Digital certificates
- Audit logs
- Email addresses
- Telephone numbers
- GPS data
- Devices used
- Software used
Examples: Is a scanned signature legally valid?In principle, scanned signatures are valid unless the declaration of intent is required to be in writing. Despite the low provability, the scanned signature is often accepted in practice, for example in associations for membership applications or generally for offers.
Examples: invalid scanned signatureA scanned signature is not legally valid if the written form is required by law. This concerns, for example, fixed-term employment contracts, guarantees, life insurance on the life of third parties and terminations, etc.
Regional Labour Court ruling: Fixed-term employment contract with scanned signature deemed invalidIn the 16 March 2022 ruling (Berlin-Brandenburg Regional Labour Court), a scanned signature in a fixed-term employment contract was declared invalid.
Regional Labour Court ruling: WhatsApp termination invalidIn the 28 October 2021 ruling (Munich Regional Labour Court), employment termination via WhatsApp was declared invalid.
Advantages of an electronic signature solutionInserting a scanned signature into a PDF or Word document is a common practice. Unfortunately, there is a lack of provability here. With an electronic signature solution, legally binding and provable contracts can be concluded quickly, easily and without complications.
- No printer or scanneris required for the electronic signature. The process is electronic throughout.
- The advanced and qualified electronic signature is eIDAS-compliant and provable.
- Qualified electronic signatures must be used for documents that require the written form.
- Electronic signature solutions can be integrated into existing systems.
- No media breaks – you work completely digitally.
- Returns can be avoided with e-signature solutions.
FAQ & summary
Would you prefer to work with electronic signatures in the future? Try out our software free of charge.