Electronic signature, when made under certain conditions, has in Moroccan law the same legal value as the handwritten one. Adopting law n° 43-20 will make it possible to further secure electronic exchanges and promote online signatures. How electronic signature is operated and what tools are in place to secure the electronic signature.

Key Words: Consent, Identification, Accredited, Unlicensed.


Aware of its commitments under international conventions, and in order to be aligned with partner countries, Morocco has enacted for more than a decade a series of laws relating to the Moroccan daily life's dematerialization.

Among these measures:

  • Law n° 07-03 supplementing penal code with regard to offences relating to automated data processing systems,
  • Law n° 09-08 relating to individuals protection with regard to personal data processing,
  • Law n° 53.05 on electronic legal data exchange,
  • Law n° 05.20 on Cybersecurity,
  • Law n° 43-20 relating to electronic transactions' trust services.

Whereas until recently Moroccan operators have remained faithful to the traditional handwritten signature put on paper, requiring signature legalization, the COVID 19 pandemic and the resulting constraints, including borders closures and travel restrictions, have actively highlighted this traditional mode limitations, and have led the business community to consider electronic signatures as a mean of concluding contracts.

All documents can be electronically signed except those expressly excluded by Law:

  • Notarial deeds,
  • Acts relating to the application of the Family Code provisions of the Family Code and private deeds relating to personal or real securities, of a civil or commercial nature.,
  • Acts which haves cross-border implications requiring a handwritten signature on paper.

Likewise, the low level of this new signature process use, does not allow to get an idea of how courts will react to disputes that may arise from It.

In other words, this unprecedented crisis highlighted how important this technology is, which had already get started to be deployed sometimes ago. Moreover, the Law n° 43-20 was unanimously voted by both chambers of the Moroccan Parliament on December 8 and 15, 2020.

And that is where the importance of our study lies, which aims to address the issue of electronic signature effect in Moroccan legislation, how it is made and what effects does it generate.


Barid Al-Maghrib (Morocco's Post Office) is the unique authorized operator to issue electronic certifications.

Indeed, Barid e-Sign is the first platform to generate electronic certificates whose mission is to produce certificates of strong authentication, secure signature and time stamping, allowing users to put their signatures on any kind of electronic exchange with the same probative value as handwritten signatures.

The user wishing to set up an electronic signature is required to submit to Barid e-Sign the appropriate application forms. The latter provides a Certified Device, which takes the form of an encrypted USB key or a smart card which contains a software allowing the issuance of a secure electronic certificate and, thus, the realization of secure electronic signature.

Electronic signature process does legally involve third parties who play a key role either in ensuring signature's credibility and guaranteeing its validity, as well in ensuring signed document conservation and its restitution.

For this purpose, Law n° 43-20, appropriately named "Electronic transactions' trust services" sets up rules that apply to both trust services and to providers who provide them. Thus, all trust services providers are subject to safety and responsibility requirements for their activities and their services.

Electronic signature should be provided by an accredited trust service provider, endowed with the legal capacity of a company incorporated under Moroccan law, and guaranteeing systems, equipment and applications used reliability.

Trust in electronic signature involves therefor three parties' intervention and playing three distinct roles that contribute to trust:

  • The signer,
  • The trust service provider,
  • and the recipient ("the Party who trust").

The accredited trust service provider as a key party should meet the criteria and conditions set by Law n° 43.20 in particular in Article 33 and by Specifications established by the national trust authority relating to electronic transactions. They are categorized according to the certification they provide :

  • Simple level
  • Advanced level
  • Qualified level

Cryptology Control has likely been limited to what is to interfere with defense interests and state security preservation.


Signing a deed is an expression of signatory's consent to its contents. However, it is useful to point out that agreements, except for certain one explicitly provided for by the legislation in force1, are perfectly valid as soon as consent is exchanged, whether verbally or in writing. Written form is recommended because, allows proving commitments made existence.

The Moroccan DOC2 in its Article 417-1, explicitly and clearly provides that deeds made on electronic support have the same probative force as those made on paper. They will be admitted as an evidence in the same way as the document made on paper, provided that:

  • The signee can be duly identified as the person from whom it emanates,
  • And that it is established and stored under conditions which guarantee its integrity.

Article 417-2, paragraph 2 defines that an electronic signature, required to generate a "perfect legal act", requires using a reliable identification process guaranteeing that the said signature is linked with deed to which it is attached.

Article 417-3 provides that an electronic signature process reliability is presumed, until the contrary is proved, when this process implements a secure electronic signature.

An electronic signature is considered secure when it is created, signatory's identity insured and legal deed's integrity guaranteed, under relevant legislation and regulations provisions. Any document on which a secure electronic signature is put and which is timestamped has the same probative value as the deed whose signature is legalized and made of certain date. The Article 6 of Law n° 53-05 relating to legal data electronic exchange, requires fulfilling three conditions for a secure electronic signature:

  • Electronic Signature should be proper to the signatory,
  • Electronic Signature should be created by a mean allowing signatory to keep electronic signature under his exclusive control
  • Electronic Signature should guarantee that any subsequent modification indeed to which It is attached, is detectable
  • The Law 43-20 on trust services for electronic transactions, which will come into force as soon as these implementing decrees are published, amended Law 53-05, repealing the Preliminary Chapter and Chapter 2.

Same as European regulations, Law n° 43-20 helped to overcome various legal obstacles to digital trust market development in Morocco.

This law is certainly a securing agent, as It makes electronic transactions more reliable, and a booster factor of this mode of concluding transactions use, as this law offers three types signatures' levels: "simple", "Advanced" and "qualified"

This new legal framework makes it possible to meet legal constraints for each type of transaction, and to cover most needs to ensure its widespread adoption.

The Simple level: for simplified use, no specific technical or functional requirements.

Without reliability presumption, the burden of proof is on the defendant.

The Advanced level: necessitates intermediate technical and organizational requirements (including an electronic certificate use), which are more flexible than qualified signatures. This so-called "Advanced" signature is useful for the development of medium stake use. It does not give a presumption of reliability, the burden of proof is on the defendant.

The Qualified level: This level is more demanding than the two previous levels, It requires compulsory use of cryptography products and of a qualified electronic certificate. It benefits from reliability presumption, since it contains "secured" signature characteristics.

Complementary trust services shall be upgraded with this law application texts' publication of. These include electronic signatures' validation and conservation of, electronic stamps, electronic timestamps, electronic registered mail services and website authentication.


Considering, the low level of this new signature process use, does not allow to get an idea of how courts will react to disputes that may arise from It. It becomes important to make sure that following concepts are well defined in the agreement:

The moment and place of contract birth, as parties will not sign It face to face.

The jurisdiction and law ruling the contract and competent courts. This is a main mention to insert in the contract to avoid interpretation issues


1. Journalist's employment contract for example In accordance with article 14 of Law n ° 89-13 relating to professional journalists' status

2. The Dahir of Obligations and Contracts (DOC) published in Official Gazette of September the 12th, 1913. It is the equivalent to the Civil Code

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.