Name
Global FinTech Guide
Country Name
Germany
SectionTitle
Signature requirements
Body
The signature requirements pertain the legal or contractual requirements in order to make a legally effective declaration of intent or a legally binding contract.

Possibility to replace a specific formal requirement of making a binding declaration of intention

In principle, the written form can be replaced with the electronic form (digital document with a qualified electronic signature). The form of a public certification can be replaced with a notarial certification. The latter form, however, cannot be replaced.

Presence of any specific formal requirements to effectively conclude a loan agreement

In principle, there are no specific formal requirements to effectively conclude a loan agreement. But in the typical case of a consumer loan agreement, the agreement must be made in written form.

Process of conclusion of a contract by using a qualified electronic signature in practice

In addition to the computer, laptop or comparable device, the following components are required to create qualified electronic signatures:
  • a qualified certificate on a secure signature creation device (colloquially – e.g. the so-called signature card);
  • a smart card reader; and
  • a corresponding software (signature application component).
A list of relevant qualified trust service providers for Germany and all other EU-Member states can be found on the Trusted List Browser of the EU.

Legal consequences to a contract in case of not fulfilling formal requirements

The contract is void.

Usual practice of signing contractual agreements in the B2B sector

They are still usually signed in written form.

Usual practice of signing contractual agreements in the B2C sector

If there is a requirement to use the written form (which can be replaced by the electronic form), contractual agreements in the B2C sector are still almost exclusively signed in written form with a handwritten signature. In the e-commerce-sector, however, contractual agreements which do not require the written or electronic form are made electronically by simply agreeing to the terms and conditions with a mouse click.  

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Disclaimer

© 2022, SCHALAST LAW I TAX. All rights reserved by SCHALAST LAW I TAX as author and the owner of the copyright in this chapter. SCHALAST LAW I TAX has granted to Multilaw non-exclusive worldwide license to use and include this chapter in this guide and to sublicense Lexis Nexis, a division of RELX Inc. and its affiliates certain rights to use and distribute this guide.

The information in this guide provides a general overview at the time of publication and is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all legal developments nor should it be taken as opinion or legal advice on the matters covered. It is for general information purposes only and readers should take legal advice from a Multilaw member firm.

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