The Recognised Notarial Electronic Signature (Feren) allows notaries, in accordance with Act 24/2001, on Taxation, Administrative and Social Measures, to continue their professional practice within the context of electronic communications and commerce.
The use of the electronic signature by almost the 3000 notaries dates back to the aforementioned Act 24/2001, of 27 December 2001, modified by the Productivity Promotion Measures Act. Articles 160 and following of Act 24/2001 develop the attribution and use of electronic signature by notaries and registrars, the mandatory implementation of electronic systems in the fields of notaries and registers, the characteristics and requirements of the electronic signature of notaries and registrars, and also the use thereof within the scopes of and in relationships between notary offices and registers.
Article 115 of Act 24/2001 added the new Article 17 Bis to the Notariat Act, comprising the transfer of the principles of the traditional notarial public instrument to the electronic notarial public instrument. Over the years numerous applications have progressively been developed for which the use of electronic signature is essential. From the internal identification of notaries when logging onto the SIC Internet to more recent applications such as remote electronic presentation at Land and Companies Registers. This is in addition to other spheres external to the Notariat (Tax Agency, Land Survey, Social Security, Autonomous Regions) in which the use of the notarial electronic signature is a reality.
Scope of application of electronic signature (Feren)
The Feren electronic signature is used daily by notaries in the most remote electronic services of the General Council of the Notariat:
Ancert, certification authority
Ancert, as a certification authority, also issues different types of recognised certificate to third parties (natural and legal persons). It in turn collaborates with various institutions in the definition and development of applications requiring an electronic signature.
Notary offices, as registration authorities, collaborate with Ancert for the issuance of certificates to third parties (natural and legal persons).
The Notariat is one of the most active bodies in the process of implementing Electronic Administration.
The notarial authentic electronic copy
The notarial authentic electronic copy is, as its name indicates, an electronic copy of a notarial instrument. It has the same value and the same effects as an authentic notarial copy on paper. It is the only document circulated online with legitimating effect and vested with the powers of a public instrument.
Thanks to its existence since 2001 (through legal regulation), legal dealings have been speeded up, by allowing notaries to exchange these copies with one another online, and also to send them electronically to public authorities and other civil servants. Its existence represents a clear saving for the general public in terms of time, travel and cost.
Notaries must oversee and accept responsibility for ensuring that the copy corresponds to the original. As a result, the regulations in force only allow the dispatch of authentic electronic copies to other civil servants and court bodies.
Parliament decided to leave notarial authentic electronic copies within the legal/public sphere in order to guarantee the security of the process and of the document. For the same reason, the authentic electronic copy can only be transferred to paper by a notary.
Since they became operational, millions of authentic electronic copies have been dispatched by notaries, without any single security problem.
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