Contributor: CR Partners, in cooperation with Karanovic & Partners
Author: Adi Brovina, Ermal Mema
1. Is there specific legislation in Albania ruling the using of documents (such as Leases, Security Agreements, Mortgages, Lease Assignments, Novation and IDERAs) executed with the use of digital platforms or any electronic signatures by the local Aviation Authority?
Electronic signatures and electronic documents in Albania aregoverned by various pieces of legislation, namely, Law no. 9880,dated 25.02.2008, “On electronic signature” (“E-Signature Law”),Law no. 10273, dated 29.04.2010 “On electronic document,” Lawno. 107/2015 “On electronic identification and trusted services”and the respective secondary legislation. The government hascurrently completed the public consultation and is expectedto submit to the Parliament a new draft law, “On ElectronicIdentification and Trust Services,” aiming to fully transpose theEU eIDAS Regulation.
The aforementioned legal rules also apply to state authorities,including the Albanian Civil Aviation Authority (“ACAA”);however, the use and submission of documents with electronicsignatures with ACAA are not very common, and an establishedpractice has not been implemented yet, and therefore westrongly recommend submitting documents signed in wet ink.
2. If your answer to (1) is yes, is there any specific requirement for the validity of such signatures, such as completion with a specific cryptographic platform developed by any local institute of technology?
The E-signature Law defines three types of e-signatures: (i)simple, (ii) advanced, and (iii) qualified electronic signature;however, only a qualified electronic signature ensures fullequivalence in terms of validity and enforceability with that ofa handwritten/wet-ink signature. A Remote Signing Service Platform (esign.akshi.gov.al) hasbeen established by the National Agency of InformationSociety (“NAIS”), which issues qualified certificates forelectronic signatures and electronic seals. This type ofcertificate is issued inter alia to natural persons (i.e., Albaniancitizens associated with a private entity in Albania or foreigncitizens employed or owning a business in Albania) and isused in the Remote Singing Service Platform for the purposeof supporting electronic signing of documents. In interactions with Albanian authorities, as a rule, onlya qualified electronic signature issued by a trust serviceprovider in Albania would be accepted as a valid electronicsignature. In addition, the use of electronic signatures is notpossible for documents requiring the notarial form or signedbefore a notary public. Electronic signatures issued by foreign service providers arerecognized and enforced in Albania in compliance with thebilateral agreements entered into force between the Republicof Albania and third countries on the recognition of electronicsignatures and data exchange. Electronic signatures issued by service providers operating in the EU and duly accredited bythe competent authority in the EU have the same legal validityand probationary force as those issued from an Albanianservice provider.
3. Does the Aviation Authority in Albania use an electronic register for Aircraft Documents or Aircraft Lease Documents (including Leases, Security Agreements, Mortgages, Lease Assignments, Novation and IDERAs)?
No, the electronic register is not yet in place.
4. If your reply to question 3 is yes, is it possible to upload electronic files for registration, such as Leases, Security Agreements, Mortgages, Lease Assignments, Novation and IDERAs with the Aviation Authority in Albania?
5. Do the courts of Albania consider valid and enforceable documents executed by the use of some type of digital signature or certification even if not registered (or registrable) with the local Aviation Authority?
Except for documents required under the notarial form, all other documents may be signed by a qualified electronic signature with a legal effect equal to that of a handwritten signature (please refer to our answer under question 2).
6. Is it possible to upload lawsuits, pleadings, and procedural documents electronically in Albania?
No, this is not possible.
7. Do the courts of Albania accept procedural documents executed digitally? Is there any specific certification required? Does Albania make any distinction between official digital signatures and private digital signatures?
The E-Signature Law does not distinguish between official digital signatures and private digital signatures.
However, courts accept only a limited number of documents executed digitally which are issued online through the governmental platform e-Albania (i.e., commercial company excerpt, certificate of social contribution, etc.). For these documents, simple hard copies with no additional certification by public authorities can be submitted. Documents executed digitally by other public authorities can be submitted, provided that the hard copies are certified by the authority which has issued the document. For all other documents executed digitally (with a qualified electronic signature), the secondary legislation for certification of hard copies by a public notary has not yet been enacted, and the court can refuse to consider them.
8. Are there any formal requirements for the validity of documents executed by digital signatures? Ex.: Does the consent of the parties to digital signatures have to be expressly referred to in the agreement?
There is no legal obligation to explicitly state in the agreement that the contract will be signed with an electronic signature; however, agreements signed electronically are valid only if all parties sign electronically.
9. Can foreign entities not located in Albania execute Lease Agreements or any Finance Documents with digital signatures to be filed for registration with the Aviation Authority in Albania? Are there any other formalities required?
Foreign entities not located in Albania may execute Lease Agreements or Finance Documents with digital signatures in accordance with the law of the country governing the documents. If documents are governed by Albanian law, a qualified electronic signature must be used to ensure full validity and enforceability with that of a handwritten/wet-ink signature. However, please note that submission of electronic documents with electronic signature with the ACAA is still not possible and authenticated hard copies will be required (please refer to the answer under question 11).
Regarding other formalities on foreign documents, they must be apostilled or legalized and translated into Albanian in order to be filed with ACAA.
10. Does the Aviation Industry in Albania usually use digital tools such as blockchain technology for the purpose of control of Aircraft Documents in substitution of printed paper Aircraft Documents?
The aviation industry in Albania does not use blockchain technology yet.
11. Are there any Notary or Apostille requirements in Albania? If so, do they apply to electronically executed documents, and how does this affect the possibility of electronic execution and delivery of aviation documents?
As a rule, documents submitted with ACAA are not required to be signed before a notary (for e.g., lease agreement, IDERA, etc.); however, for certain documents, the law may explicitly require the notarial form (for e.g., certain security agreements governed by Albanian law). In practice, documents are submitted either as originals or certified copies (by a notary public) thereof.
Documents executed digitally by Albanian public authorities can be submitted to ACAA in hard copy provided that the hard copies are certified by the authority which has issued the document. Regarding private documents executed digitally (with a qualified electronic signature) and governed by Albanian law, the secondary legislation for certification of hard copies by a public notary has not yet been enacted, and the ACAA can refuse to consider them.
The form of foreign-law documents (including signature) must comply with the laws of the jurisdiction governing the document. As a matter of practice, when foreign public documents or private documents governed by foreign law are submitted to Albanian authorities, hard copies authenticated by a notary public of such jurisdiction may be required and not just simple copies (i.e., the printed version of the electronic document). In such case, the applicant should make sure that under the laws of the jurisdiction where the document is issued or signed, a notary of that jurisdiction can authenticate the copy of the document signed through an electronic signature of any kind and that the apostille seal can be affixed accordingly (unless the apostille seal is not required for specific countries based on bilateral agreements).
In the event the foreign country is not a member of the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961, “Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents”, documents issued in such country must undergo the legalization process.
a. Has Albania implemented the e-Apostille program?
Albania has not implemented the e-Apostille program. Therefore, documents intended for Albania must be provided with an apostille in paper form