An agency from the UK sent me an agreement as PDF with a signature in it. I wonder, is this legally enough? My field is of course still blank also.

I remember a while ago somebody sent me a contract (in which case I was providing the service) they told me to use some online service specialised in digital signatures where I had to sign. It verified my identity etc. That client was in the USA.

On the other side I have sent some documents to companies here in Germany (e.g. health insurance) where I only had to scan the document with my signature and email it, which is equivalent to this PDF.

So not sure if the difference is because the law concerning digital signatures is different in Germany and USA? In this case, this contract is in England/under England law (I'm still in Germany). Is this PDF enough?

1 Answer 1


I don't know about overseas, I'm in the US.

However, a signature is a signature - whether it's in a PDF or scanned as jpg, or a digital signature - they all indicate an agreement to terms. What is imperative is some indicator that terms were seen and agreed upon. That can be done in many forms. No one form is better than another inherently.

Often you'll find companies asking you to sign and return (or scan) because they are either unfamiliar with digital signatures, don't trust them (without reason), or have a document not set up for digital signatures. Most digital signatures are valid today. The technology for these has made it clear that you have to be who you say you are to embed the digital signature.

I've had forms returned after someone signed and took a photo with their phone -- which is fine as long as the document and signature is recognizable.

The reality is, often an actual signature isn't required. An email simply stating that the terms are agreed upon can be enough. You don't really need the custom handwriting as proof. You merely need something that shows both parties agreed to terms.

Again, I'm in the US... no clue about European laws.

  • Most companies are skeptical of digital (cryptographic) signatures because other people could potentially generate a signature, or someone could steal a private key. All the while using a signature that is probably quite easy to forge...
    – Amelia
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 21:39
  • 2
    I hear you @Amelia --Funny thing is the digisig is harder to fake than an actual signature :) At the very least I think possibly a MAC address or IP is recorded with it.
    – Scott
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 23:30

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