In more and more situations, digital documents are taking the place of physical ones and in many cases this is what is expected. At the moment, this is not something that happens with the apostille. That certificate is still a physical document. But how long will this last? Will the apostille be a digital document only soon? Or will this be one of the very few items that remains in paper form.
Most of the company documents in the UK are filed electronically, and there many not even be a physical document as well. This makes it a lot easier to find these items when they are filed and that can save a lot of time when the documents need to be actioned.
However, court documents are a slightly different prospect because they historically need to be stamped with a seal, or (and sometimes and) signed by a judge. The apostille certificate is then attached to that document. How will this work when it comes to the digital revolution?
Interestingly, many court stamps are also now digital. The only caveat to a digital court seal is that it needs to also be countersigned by a UK solicitor or notary public if the apostille is also to be applied for. This does seem to be a step forward and a step backwards at once; unless, of course, the solicitor’s signature can also be a digital one.
As time goes on (and probably not very much time at that) it is probable that all court documents will become digital in nature, and that includes the apostille certificate itself. This is something that is currently being discussed and it will be interesting to see what happens next, and how secure it can all be made.