Contributor: Advokatfirmaet Ræder AS
Author: Kyrre W. Kielland and Robin Josdal
1. Is there specific legislation in Norway 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?
Norway has implemented the European Regulation on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market (eIDAS), and in the private sector, electronic signatures are widely accepted. In the public sector, however, the acceptance of electronic signatures is limited.
According to the Public Administration Act section 15 a), it may be prescribed regulations relating to electronic communication between the public administration and the general public and to electronic case processing and communication in the public administration, including rules concerning the forms of electronic communication that may be used, signing, authenticating, securing integrity and confidentiality, requirements that apply to the products, services and standards that may be used etc.
However, no specific regulations have been made regarding the using of documents with the use of digital platforms or electronic signatures by the Aviation Authority.
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?
3. Does the Aviation Authority in Norway use an electronic register for Aircraft Documents or Aircraft Lease Documents (including Leases, Security Agreements, Mortgages, Lease Assignments, Novation and IDERAs)?
The Norwegian Civil Aircraft Register (“Luftfartøyregisteret”) is kept electronically, cf. the Civil Aviation Act section 3-1 and Registration of Aviation (administrative act) section 4.
Any document that “establishes, changes, transfers, encumbers, recognizes or cancels a right” can be annotated in The Norwegian Civil Aircraft Register, cf. Civil Aviation Act section 3-22. A general overview of The Norwegian Civil Aircraft Register, providing information regarding the ownership of the aircraft, is available on The Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority ́s (“Luftfartstilsynet”) website.
However, the Register is not open for use and registration by the users, but the electronic Register is merely an overview based on the written documents that are submitted to the Register.
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 Norway?
It is not possible for users to upload files electronically themselves. Any document must be sent to the Civil Aviation Authority manually in written format for registration. The Civil Aviation Authority will then enter the document in the electronic Register.
5. Do the courts of Norway 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?
Documents that are not subject to filing will be held valid and enforceable inter partes when duly executed digitally.
6. Is it possible to upload lawsuits, pleadings, and procedural documents electronically in Norway?
Yes. The Norwegian courts use an electronic communication portal called “Aktørportalen”, which lawyers are obliged to utilize, cf. Regulation on electronic communication with the courts section 3a.
This does, however, not apply to communication with the Norwegian Conciliation Board, which is, in fact, the appropriate court of first instance for claims (i) below NOK 200,000 or (ii) exceeding NOK 200,000 if a defendant has not been represented by legal counsel, cf. the Norwegian Dispute Act section 6-2. Submitting lawsuits, pleadings and procedural documents must therefore be done by post to the Conciliation Board.
7. Do the courts of Norway accept procedural documents executed digitally? Is there any specific certification required? Does Norway make any distinction between official digital signatures and private digital signatures?
Authorized lawyers and associates are obliged to register as a user and utilize the electronic communication system (“Aktørportalen”) to upload procedural documents, cf. Regulation on electronic communication with the courts section 3a. This entails that lawsuits, pleadings and procedural documents are uploaded directly to the system, which are all accepted as executed once submitted. Non-professionals litigating their own case are generally not permitted to register as a user in this system.
Otherwise, the courts also accept procedural documents by e-mail that are signed electronically.
There are no official digital signatures in Norway. The most used means of electronic identification and signatures in Norway in respect of public services is BankID, which is a private digital signature satisfying the requirements of the eIDAS regulations.
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?
Electronic signature through the electronic communication system is equal to a regular signature, cf. Regulation on electronic communication with the courts section 11. The digital signature must, however, satisfy the requirements of the eIDAS regulation to achieve this legal effect.
That being said, under Norwegian law, oral agreements are as binding as written agreements as long as there is sufficient evidence of an intent to enter into the agreement. Therefore, any form of electronic signature not satisfying the requirements (e.g., DocuSign) may, under the circumstances, be sufficient to establish a validly executed agreement enforceable between the parties.
9. Can foreign entities not located in Norway execute Lease Agreements or any Finance Documents with digital signatures to be filed for registration with the Aviation Authority in Norway? Are there any other formalities required?
No. The Norwegian Civil Aircraft Register does not accept digital signatures, either from Norwegian entities or foreign entities.
10. Does the Aviation Industry in Norway usually use digital tools such as blockchain technology for the purpose of control of Aircraft Documents in substitution of printed paper Aircraft Documents?
Not to date. We are, however, aware that certain public registries are experimenting with registrations based on blockchain technology.
11. Are there any Notary or Apostille requirements in Norway? If so, do they apply to electronically executed documents, and how does this affect the possibility of electronic execution and delivery of aviation documents?
a. Has Norway implemented the e-Apostille program?
One requirement for registration is that if the owner is an EEA company, enterprise or association, a self-declaration must be submitted confirming this. The declaration must be confirmed by a Notary Public. Outside the Nordic countries, the notary’s signature must be confirmed by an apostille or legalization.
As stated above, it is not possible to submit aviation documents electronically.
Consequently, Norway has not implemented the e-Apostille program.