Contributor: gbf Attorneys-at-law Ltd

Author: Marco Novoselac and Philippe Wenker

1. Is there specific legislation in Switzerland 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?

The Swiss Federal Act on Electronic Signatures (ZertES) governs the legal framework for electronic signatures, the use of digital signatures, providers of digital signatures as well as rights and obligations. In particular, this act sets out the requirements for electronic signatures to be considered equivalent to handwritten signatures as set forth by the Swiss Code of Obligations. The electronic signature regulated by the ZertES is a technical procedure for guaranteeing the integrity of a document and the identity of the signatory. It is based on an infrastructure managed by certified service providers.

However, the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) administration the Swiss aircraft registry (being the Swiss aeronautical registry) and the Swiss aircraft record (which is a separate registry, where rights in aircraft (such as ownership, mortgages and leases are recorded)) has not issued regulations governing the use of electronic documents.

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?

Not applicable (see question 1 above).

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


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 Switzerland?


5. Do the courts of Switzerland 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?

Under Swiss law, a handwritten signature is only required in specific cases (such as, for example, the assignment of rights) but is often contractually reserved. In such cases, besides handwritten signatures, the qualified electronic signature (QES), according to the ZertES, fulfills the formal requirements. In cases where the written form is solely reserved by contract, the parties can always mutually adjust the contractual written form requirement according to their needs, for example, by incorporating the exchange of emails or using signature forms common in the market but not designed as QES under Swiss law (such as Adobe’s basic signatures or DocuSign). Note that Adobe’s basic signatures or DocuSign do not (yet) qualify as QES.

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

Yes, that is possible. However, certain legally accepted providers or platforms must be used. Further, a submission must be electronically signed in accordance with the requirements of the ZertES.

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

Yes, see the answer to question 6. As far as the distinction between official and private signatures is concerned, please see our answer to question 5 above.

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?

Please see the answer to question 5 above.

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

Not applicable (see question 1 above).

10. Does the Aviation Industry in Switzerland usually use digital tools such as blockchain technology for the purpose of control of Aircraft Documents in substitution of printed paper Aircraft Documents?


11. Are there any Notary or Apostille requirements in Switzerland? 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 Switzerland implemented the e-Apostille program?

There are Notary or Apostille requirements in Switzerland for certain transactions (such as with real estate). Switzerland has not implemented the e-Apostille program.

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