Is an Electronic Authentic Act Acceptable?
– Is the signature of an authentic act without presence required?
– Advantages of the authentic electronic act
– Signature procedure
In principle, each party to the action must sign an authentic act by their respective notary. However, in the interest of practicality and speed, the original act can now be done on an electronic medium when electronics is in full swing.
The law now states that electronic writing is admitted as evidence in the same way as writing on paper. This means an electronic document has the same evidential value as a paper document. This technique does not remove any of the importance of the act, and its legal quality is entirely preserved.
Is the signature of an authentic instrument without presence required?
A paper document implies the simultaneous presence of the parties and the notaries at the signing of the contract, which represents a constraint. Indeed, when the parties to the agreement do not reside in the same geographical area, for example, one of the parties, accompanied by his notary, must travel. This results in a loss of time and money for the party concerned.
The law has instituted the authentic electronic act: it is drafted electronically (word processing) and signed in just a few minutes by the parties and their notary via an approved electronic signature system. It is then stored in a virtual library known as the “electronic central registry”.
Note: the client can receive a copy of this document electronically, delivered by the signing notary, who is the only one to access it. It is, therefore, possible at any time to retrieve the deed and its annexes and issue copies.
However, until recently, the physical presence of the client or his representative at the notary’s office was required when signing the deed.
Advantages of the authentic electronic act
The authentic electronic act is a request from professionals, notaries or bailiffs. The paper disappears and is replaced by a computer file that provides the client with the same guarantees of security, reliability, and conservation. For the notary’s client, it is only the medium that changes because he always benefits from the legal quality and the notary’s know-how.
It also allows each party to benefit from several advantages:
– The deed signing is faster (any changes are made live, each party signs only once and not page by page…).
– The parties listen and see the text on the screen simultaneously, allowing a better understanding of the act.
– The availability of these documents is accelerated, and their consultation is facilitated thanks to the virtual library.
– Transactions are faster and more straightforward; the authentic electronic act, therefore, represents a considerable saving of time.
– The authentic electronic act also represents space-saving since it avoids paper archives.
Before signing, the notary clerk drafts the deed using computerized drafting software. Then, he scans all the documents that must be attached to this act and stick them electronically to it. This set of digitized documents constitutes the deed to be regularized.
Appointment and signature
The notary shows the deed and the annexes to the client during the signing appointment on a large screen. The reading is thus done on screen and is accessible to all parties.
Once the deed and its annexes have been approved by the parties and any modifications made by the clerk, the notary validates the content of the act and the annexes. This validation is only possible by the notary, thanks to the “REAL” key: an encrypted computer key that contains the notary’s identification and signature and is protected by a secret code.
Once this computer validation is completed, the deed appears on a tablet. On this tablet, the parties to the act affix their signatures thanks to an electronic pen. Then the notary signs, using the “REAL” key.
The date and place of the signatures are automatically validated, and the deed can no longer be modified.
The authentic electronic act can be immediately transmitted electronically to the signing parties. It is also sent on the notary’s dedicated secure servers to the “central registry”, which is still called the “electronic safe”. Only the notary who signed the deed can access it and issue copies. With this electronic medium, the guarantee of conservation of notarial acts is now optimal.