The approval of the new technical requirements applicable to
digital signatures represent a major innovation that might ease the
execution of international contracts and create opportunities for
Digital signatures represent an important change in Italy since
according to so called code for the digital government, they will
have the same evidential value as written signatures for agreements
that require such formality. And indeed if electronic documents are
not going to be signed with digital signatures they will be deemed
null and void if they fall among those documents that if in paper
version need to executed in writing.
Given the fact that digital signatures replace hand-written
signatures for electronic-format contract documents, very stringent
technical requirements have been set out i.e. the mere name at the
bottom of an email will not suffice. Such technical requirements
for instance ensure the unalterability of documents and their
connection with the person to whom the digital signature
This change might be beneficial for international transactions
e.g. for multinational companies whose directors are often outside
the country and Italy might lead other countries to implement
similar tools becoming an example to follow within Europe.
Moreover, they represent also an opportunity for digital signature
providers also because as part of the so called digital agenda from
the first of January 2013 it was prescribed that citizens shall
have a digital domicile and all the communications between
governmental authorities and citizens shall occur
This publication is intended as a general overview and
discussion of the subjects dealt with. It is not intended to be,
and should not used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any
specific situation. DLA Piper Australia will accept no
responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of
DLA Piper Australia is part of DLA Piper, a global law firm,
operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. For
further information, please refer to www.dlapiper.com
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We discuss whether certain clauses commonly found in ordinary commercial contracts could be considered to be penalties.
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