One of the major novelties foreseen by Law 39/2015, of 1 October, on common administrative procedure for public administrations (LPACAP) is the separation between identification and electronic signature systems. In this sense, the LPACAP determines which are the means of identification and signature that the interested parties can use in the framework of an administrative procedure and in which cases.

It can be inferred that this separation of instruments responds, among other reasons, to the will of the legislator not to hinder the access of those interested in digital public services, while requiring for certain procedures in which only identification is necessary, electronic signature mechanisms of less widespread use among the population. Thus, the mandatory use of electronic signature is requested for a set of taxed cases.

Specifically, article 11 LPACAP regulates that the use of a signature will only be mandatory for: formulating requests, presenting responsible statements or communications, filing appeals, withdrawing actions, and waiving rights.

From a first reading of the article it may seem that flexibility has been brought to the use of the electronic signature, but in reality the cases of article 11 show that the use of the signature continues to be present in the majority part of the procedures, while leaving as residual the cases in which only identification will be necessary.

On the other hand, as was already the case with Law 11/2007, of 22 June, on citizens' electronic access to public services, the new LPACAP does not define which electronic signature must be used for each specific case. In a Law where part of its subjective scope of application is the Public Administrations, this concrete effort would have been very useful, especially in the municipal sphere, where each administration has had to sharpen its ingenuity to reach conclusions that , had it been provided for in the rule for all administrations, it would have saved local bodies a lot of resources.

In this direction, the VALID and Protocol of identification and electronic signature of Catalonia , which was adopted by the AOC, is very useful.

In the field of notifications, the electronic signature is not essential in accordance with the LPACAP, but it is in accordance with Law 29/2010, of August 3, on the use of electronic media in the sector public of Catalonia. In any case, it is important that there is strong evidence that notification has been made. This evidence has traditionally been a signature. The e-NOTUM service creates and saves the evidence of the notification practice.

Legal context

Law 39/2015:

Article 11. Use of means of identification and signature in the administrative procedure.

"1. In general, to carry out any action provided for in the administrative procedure, it is sufficient for the interested parties to prove their identity beforehand through any of the means of identification provided for in this Law

2. Public administrations only require interested parties to use a mandatory signature for:

a) Form requests.

b) Submit responsible statements or communications.

c) Interposing resources.

d) Give up actions.

e) Waiver of rights."

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