Electronic Signature Laws & Regulations - Denmark
As a European Union (EU) Member State, Denmark is governed by Regulation No. 910/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (eIDAS). For more information on eIDAS, please read the Electronic Signature Laws & Regulations in the EU.
Electronic signatures and certificate-based digital signatures are commonly used in Denmark and a number of Danish court cases have looked at the validity of electronic signatures.
The key laws in Denmark that regulate the use of electronic signatures include:
- The Act on Supplementing Provisions which regulates the enforcement of the provisions of the eIDAS Regulation.
- The Danish Contracts Act which governs the conclusion of contracts in general, regardless of the medium on which the contract is concluded.
The enforcement of contracts signed electronically in Denmark mainly comes down to the “will of the parties” and whether said will can be proven before the courts. Generally, Danish courts are free to assess all evidence presented before them. In practice, proving the validity of an electronic signature may happen by presenting the signed document together with the correspondence between the parties. Thus, electronic signatures that include identity validation, such as electronic signatures backed by digital certificates, will normally be considered to provide stronger evidence of validity.
In Denmark, an Advanced Electronic Signatures (AdES) as defined by the eIDAS regulation must comply with the Danish certification policy for Public Certificates to Electronic Services (the OCES standard). There are two requirements for Certificate Authorities (CAs) to comply with the OCES standard;
- Enter into an agreement with the National IT and Telecom Agency in Denmark (Digitaliseringsstyrelsen), and
- Comply with the relevant certificate policy applicable to personal, employee, company and functional certificates prepared by the National IT and Telecom Agency.
In a report from the Danish Ministry of Justice, the Ministry states that electronic signatures complying with the OCES standard should be considered equivalent to a wet signature. Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) as defined by the eIDAS regulation are already considered equivalent to a wet signature.
In Denmark, the following documents are only directly executable before the Danish Enforcement Courts if they are signed by an OCES-compliant AdES or a QES:
- Out of court settlements;
- Instruments of debt in which it is explicitly stated that the document can be used as basis for enforcement proceedings without a court order or other basis of enforcement;
- Agreement reserving ownership until payment is made (e.g. a conditional sale).
Electronic signatures are often used with the widely accepted Danish identity verification solution NemID, which is maintained by Nets DanID. NemID is governed by Danish laws and complies with the OCES standard. A person needs to be a Danish citizen to obtain a NemID. The advantage of NemID is that it provides a secure validation of identity of the person signing the document. Banks and public authorities generally use NemID when interacting with Danish citizens.
EU Member States have the obligation to establish, maintain and publish trusted lists of Qualified Trust Service Providers (QTSPs) and the qualified trust services provided by them. A QTSP certified in any EU Member State will be recognized as a QTSP by all other Member States. Accordingly, no EU Member State may question the qualified status once a QTSP has been added to the trusted list by the supervisory authority of another Member State. The list of QTSPs for Denmark is available at: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/tl-browser/#/tl/DK. Currently, only Nets DanID is certified as a QTSP in Denmark and issues certificates that comply with all four certificate policies.
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is applicable in Denmark. Additionally, there are rules prohibiting the storage and processing of any electronic signature data outside Denmark, however, these rules only apply to the IT systems maintaining the NemID solution.
Transacting with public sector entities
Digital interaction with Danish public authorities often requires the use of NemID.
Use cases that generally require a traditional signature
In Denmark, the following documents cannot be signed or executed electronically:
- Bearer bonds
- Wills or other documents that require notarization or witnessing.
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