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  • Writer's pictureDr. Nora Szabo, LL.M.

So Close No Matter How Far - Remote Legal Procedures

Based on Act LXXVIII of 2017 on the Activity of Attorneys, unless an attorney-client relationship is formed for the sole purpose of legal advisory and no drafting, thereby no countersignature of legal documents occur, then the proceeding attorney-at-law is obliged to identify the client for anti-money laundering purposes.


However, neither the aforementioned statutory law, nor Act LIII of 2017 on the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing prohibit the parties from rendering and engaging legal services remotely.


Such provisions naturly have sparked more interest ever since COVID-19 has appeared and changed life as we knew it beforehand.


It is important to note that all applicable regulations do indeed stipulate that the identification itself needs to be carried out by the proceeding attorney themselves.

In Hungary currently the following are the feasible and in practice, rather popular options which allow the corporate procedures to be dealt with remotely.


#1 Remote Identification Procedure


In such scenario the client is identified via one of the audiovisual chat applications as approved by the Hungarian BAR Association (such as Skype or Microsoft Teams), whereas due to applicable data protection regulations,


  • the client first and foremost must declare that they agree to the remote identification procedure, which is recorded by the attorney, following which

  • the client shows their personal identification documents via the video chat application to the attorney in order to carry out the proper identification procedure.

#2 Remote Signing of Legal Documents


Following the successful remote identification process, the legal documentation as drafted by the attorney is then showed and signed in front the attorney, who records such procedure. The client must acknowledge the signature as their very own in front of the attorney via the audiovisual video chat application.


Should such legal documents require the countersignature of the attorney, as is the case in all real estate sale and purchase agreements, as well as many (although not all) corporate procedures, then the signed documents are sent to the attorney who then countersigns the documentation with reference to the remote identification and signing procedure.


#3 E-Signatures


Electronic signatures are also known as e-signatures, by means of which documents are signed in a manner that allows the signing party to be identified through an application which may vary from country to country, however within the Europena Union, in accordance with Articles 25 and 26 of section 4 on electronic signatures of REGULATION (EU) No 910/2014 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 July 2014 on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market and repealing Directive 1999/93/EC, an advanced electronic signature must meet the following requirements:

  1. it is uniquely linked to the signatory;

  2. it is capable of identifying the signatory;

  3. it is created using electronic signature creation data that the signatory can, with a high level of confidence, use under his sole control; and

  4. it is linked to the data signed therewith in such a way that any subsequent change in the data is detectable.

A qualified electronic signature shall have the equivalent legal effect of a handwritten signature, and within the European Union, a qualified electronic signature based on a qualified certificate issued in one EU Member State shall be recognized as a qualified electronic signature in all other EU Member States.


Time period for safekeeping of such remote documentation


Based on the applicable legal regulations of Hungary, the attorney is obliged to safekeep such recordings of remote identification and signature as mentioned above for 8 (eight) years following the fulfillment or the termination of the assignmment, furthermore if no other legal regulations apply or are overruled by the parties' agreement (which may only be overruled by a longer time period stipulation), then the countersigned legal documents are to be safekept for 10 (ten) years following the signature thereof.



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*ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This blogpost may not be used in any way, shape or form, furthermore it does not serve as legal advice and does not constitute any kind of legal assignment agreement. In case of questions or remarks, please feel free to contact us at nora.szabo@noraszabolaw.com.

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