Contracts/e-signature: initiation, continuation or termination of commitments

On 24 December 2020, the United Kingdom and the European Union concluded the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (hereinafter the “Agreement”).

The European Electronic Identification, Authentication and Trust Services Regulation 910/2014 (eIDAS) covers electronic identification and trust services. Generally speaking, the rules under eIDAS ceased to apply in the UK on 1 January 2021.

However, the eIDAS rules relating to trust services have been incorporated into UK domestic law, so that the corresponding national provisions apply from that date on.

UK law therefore continues to recognise EU-registered qualified trust service providers (QTSPs), which can thus still be used by UK organisations.

However, EU Member States will no longer recognise UK-registered QTSPs. Therefore, the electronic signatures issued by those providers will not be treated as a qualified electronic signature under eIDAS.

That being said, the Agreement includes a guarantee that neither the UK nor the EU shall discriminate against electronic signatures or electronic documents solely on the ground that they are in electronic form. The Agreement also ensures that contracts can be entered into electronically, with a small number of exceptions.

The provisions of eIDAS relating to electronic identification schemes have not been incorporated into UK law. Therefore, the UK’s electronic identification scheme GOV.UK Verify is no longer recognised by the EU Member States.

For more information regarding electronic signatures, click here_

Your contact for more details: Astrid Wagner (astrid.wagner@arendt.comand Faustine Cachera(