E-signature law, case I OPP 25/08

September 18th, 2008, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Administrative Court in its order of 24 July 2007 case file I OPP 25/08 held that the letter that was brought by electronic means must be signed in person by a party or its representative to become legally effective, because only such signature meet the requirements under Article 46 § 1 pkt 4 of the Act of 30 August 2002 on the Law on Proceedings Before Administrative Courts – PBAC – (in Polish: Prawo o postępowaniu przed sądami administracyjnymi), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 153, item 1270, with subsequent amendments.

In accordance with Article 5(1) of the Act of 18 September 2001 on Electronic Signature – ESA – (in Polish: ustawa o podpisie elektronicznym), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 15 November 2001, No 130, item 1450, with subsequent amendments, the secure electronic signature verified by a qualified certificate which has legal effects specified in the Act, if it is filed during the validity of this certificate. The Chapter IX of that ESA contains provisions amending, inter alia, the Civil Code Article 60, Article 78 §1 and §2, allowing for state the will of a person in the cicil law relationship by the disclosure in electronic form. In addition, the Polish Act of 17 February 2005 on the Informatization of Entities Performing Public Tasks – IEPPT – (in Polish: ustawa o informatyzacji działalności podmiotów realizujących zadania publiczne), published in Journal of Laws No 64, item 565, in Article. 36 pt 3 and 5 introduced amendments of the provisions of the Administrative Proceedings Code, i.e. Article 57 § 5 pt 1 and Article 63 § 3a by allowing the opportunity to provide a request in the form of an electronic document. The above provisions apply only to the extent that the given Act governs.

In the Polish Act of 17 June 2004 on Complaint on the Infringement of the Right of a Party to be Beard in Court Proceedings without Undue Delay, published in Journal of Laws of 16 August 2004, and in the provisions of the PBAC, there are no equivalents of the abovecited provisions of the Civil Code and the APC, and the definition of electronic signatures does not exists in these acts. According to Article 2(3) of the IEPPT, the provisions of this Act shall not apply to administrative courts in the administrative proceedings. Consequently, in this case the Supreme Administrative Court was not obliged to use in the e-mail correspondnce of certificates that are referred to in the ESA.

See also “E-signature law, case II SA/Gd 573/10” and “E-signatures in Poland“.