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Digital Aviation Document QAs: Italy

Contributor: Studio Pierallini

Author: Laura Pierallini

1. Is there specific legislation in Italy 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?

In Italy, the use of electronic signatures is governed by the Electronic Identification and Trust Services (eIDAS) Regulation (Regulation No. 910/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014), which establishes a legal framework for electronic transactions across member States. Next to eIDAS, the primary legislation that governs electronic signatures in Italy is the Legislative Decree No. 82 of 7 March 2005 (also called “Codice dell’amministrazione digitale” or CAD), as subsequently amended and supplemented. Although the CAD mainly intended to regulate public administrations, some of its provisions, including those on electronic signatures and electronic documents, are also applicable to individuals and businesses.

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?

In accordance with Article 1 of CAD, digital signatures qualify as “a particular type of qualified signature based on a system of cryptographic keys, one public and one private, related to each other, which allows the holder through the private key and a third party through the public key, respectively, to make manifest and to verify the origin and integrity of an electronic document or set of electronic documents. Therefore, the digital signature is a particular type of qualified electronic signature (regulated under the eIDAS Regulation), characterized by specific technologies that, by reversing the cryptographic signature procedure, allow parties to verify the integrity and security of an electronic document.

3. Does the Aviation Authority in Italy use an electronic register for Aircraft Documents or Aircraft Lease Documents (including Leases, Security Agreements, Mortgages, Lease Assignments, Novation and IDERAs)?

The Civil Aviation Authority in Italy (Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile – ENAC) uses an electronic register for Aircraft Documents and Aircraft Lease Documents, but only for internal organisation and is not accessible to the public.

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 Italy?

All documents can be sent to ENAC also via certified email (Posta Elettronica Certificata – PEC).

5. Do the courts of Italy 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?

In Italy, while certain documents may not be required for registration with the Aviation Authority, they can still be valid and enforceable through the use of digital certification, such as digital signatures. The use of digital certification can provide additional evidentiary value and ensure the integrity and authenticity of the documents.

For example, in the aviation industry, various agreements, contracts, and legal instruments may not necessarily need to be registered with the Aviation Authority. However, utilizing digital certification, such as qualified electronic signatures (QES) or advanced electronic signatures (AdES), can enhance the trustworthiness and legal validity of these documents.

By digitally signing such documents with a QES or AdES, parties can demonstrate their intent to be bound by the terms and conditions stated in the document. The digital certification helps establish the integrity of the document and provides evidence of the identity of the signatories, thus contributing to its enforceability.

6. Is it possible to upload lawsuits, pleadings, and procedural documents electronically in Italy?

Yes, with the digital transformation of civil proceedings, any judicial document can be filed electronically with all Courts in Italy. With Law No. 221 of 17 December 2012 (as subsequently amended and supplemented), electronic transmissions of all communications (to lawyers, professionals and parties) is mandatory.

7. Do the courts of Italy accept procedural documents executed digitally? Is there any specific certification required? Does Italy make any distinction between official digital signatures and private digital signatures?

Yes. Italian Courts have been implementing an electronic system, which, among others, makes it possible to process documents electronically. In Italy, there is a distinction between different types of digital signatures, but it is not based on whether they are official or private. Instead, the distinction is made based on the level of trust and security provided by the digital signature.

The main types of digital signatures recognized in Italy are as follows:

 Advanced Electronic Signatures (AdES): AdES is a type of digital signature that meets specific technical requirements set forth in the law. AdES provides a higher level of security compared to basic electronic signatures but does not have the same legal presumption of validity as qualified electronic signatures.

Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES): QES is a specific type of advanced electronic signature that meets additional requirements established by law. QES is based on a qualified certificate issued by a regulated, qualified trust service provider. QES carries a higher level of trust and the legal presumption of validity. It is considered equivalent to a handwritten signature and provides strong evidential value in legal proceedings.

It’s important to note that both AdES and QES can be used for both official and private purposes. The distinction lies in the level of trust and legal recognition they offer rather than their specific usage.

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?

In Italy, there are certain formal requirements for the validity of documents executed by digital signatures. The consent of the parties to the use of digital signatures does not necessarily have to be expressly referred to in the agreement, but it is recommended to include provisions regarding the use of digital signatures to ensure clarity and avoid any potential disputes. Under Italian law, electronic documents and signatures are generally considered legally valid and enforceable. However, for certain agreements that require the written form, it is important to ensure that the use of a digital signature meets the specific legal requirements.

9. Can foreign entities not located in Italy execute Lease Agreements or any Finance Documents with digital signatures to be filed for registration with the Aviation Authority in Italy? Are there any other formalities required?

Yes. Foreign entities not located in Italy may execute Lease Agreements or any Finance Documents with digital signatures to be filed for registration with the Aviation Authority. Furthermore, ownership may be registered with the Italian Aircraft Registry. Pursuant to Article 750 of the Italian Navigation Code, aircraft may be registered with the Italian Aircraft Registry, provided that certain nationality requirements are met.

In order to register a lease interest, a Lease Interest can be registered with the Italian Aircraft Registry by submitting to ENAC a copy of the relevant lease agreement previously filled with the Italian Public Registry of Private Deeds. If such a lease agreement was in a foreign language, the said registry and ENAC would require a sworn translation into Italian thereof.

10. Does the Aviation Industry in Italy 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 worldwide is exploring the use of digital tools, including blockchain technology, for various purposes, including the management of aircraft documents. However, specific practices can vary from country to country and even among different companies within the same country. Italy is also moving towards digitalization and exploring the potential benefits of using blockchain technology for aircraft documents, but it is not part of it yet.

11. Are there any Notary or Apostille requirements in Italy? If so, do they apply to electronically executed documents, and how does this affect the possibility of electronic execution and delivery of aviation documents?

In Italy, notary requirements and apostille requirements are applicable to certain types of documents, including electronically executed documents. However, the specific application of these requirements to aviation documents may depend on the nature of the document and the applicable regulations in the aviation industry.

Regarding notary requirements, Italian law may require certain contracts or documents to be executed in the form of “public deeds.” Public deeds involve specific formalities for their conclusion and typically require the involvement of a public official or a notary.

In the case of electronically executed documents, the parties may sign the document through a simple electronic signature. However, for the contract to be valid, it generally needs to be executed with the digital signature of the public official or notary.

Otherwise, the e-Apostille program is not enabled.

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