One of the major innovations provided for in Law 39/2015, of 1 October, on the common administrative procedure of public administrations (LPACAP) is the separation between identification and electronic signature systems. In this sense, the LPACAP determines which 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 intuited that this separation of instruments responds, among other motivations, to the will of the legislator not to obstruct the access of the interested ones to the digital public services, while requiring for certain procedures in which only the identification is necessary, less widely used electronic signature mechanisms among the population. Thus, the mandatory use of electronic signature is required for a set of assessed assumptions.

Specifically, Article 11 LPACAP regulates that only the use of a signature will be mandatory to: make applications, submit responsible statements or communications, file appeals, withdraw actions, and waive rights.

From a first reading of the article it may seem that flexibility has been given to the use of the electronic signature, but in reality the cases of article 11 show that the use of the signature is still present in most part of the procedures, leaving in a residual way the cases in which only the identification will be necessary.

On the other hand, as was the case with Law 11/2007, of 22 June, on electronic access of citizens to public services, the new LPACAP also does not delimit 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 effort of concretion would have been very useful, especially in the municipal sphere, where each administration has had to sharpen its ingenuity to reach conclusions that , if it had been provided for in the standard for all administrations, it would have saved a lot of resources for local authorities.

The VALID and Electronic Identification and Signature Protocol of Catalonia , which was adopted by the AOC, is very useful in this direction.

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

Legal Context

Law 39/2015:

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

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

2. The public administrations only require the interested parties to use the obligatory signature for:

a) Make applications.

b) Submit responsible statements or communications.

c) File appeals.

d) Withdraw actions.

(e) Waiver of rights. "

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