Are electronic signatures legal in Egypt?
Egypt’s legal model is a tiered one. This means that Qualified Electronic Signature are seen as a legal type of e-signature. This doesn’t mean that a non-QES e-Signature can’t be submitted in court, but it will need additional evidence to support it.
Egypt operates under Civil Law systems which are arranged according to a plan or a system and come from Roman law. Civil law systems are based on:
- Generally a written constitution based on specific codes (e.g. civil code, codes covering corporate law, administrative law, tax law and constitutional law) preserving basic rights and duties
- There is little scope for judge-made law in civil, criminal and commercial courts (only legislative enactments are considered binding for all)
- In some civil law systems, e.g. Germany, writings of legal scholars have significant influence on the courts
- Courts specific to the underlying codes – there are therefore usually separate constitutional court, administrative court and civil court systems that opine on consistency of legislation and administrative acts with and interpret that specific code;
- Less freedom of contract – many provisions are implied into a contract by law and parties cannot contract out of certain provisions.
A civil law system is generally more prescriptive
Egyptian law highlights that a traditional signature isn’t necessarily required for a valid contract – contracts are considered valid if legally able individuals reach an agreement (this can be by agreeing verbally, electronically or by physically signing – Articles 89 and 90 of the Egyptian Civil Code and Article 69 of the Egyptian Trade Law). And Article 14 of the Egyptian E-Signature Law says that contracts can’t be refused for simply being electronic. However these contracts may have to be supported in court with extra evidence and certified by local authorities. Electronic signature solutions can be used to provide these electronic documents, under Articles 14 and 15 of the E-Signature Law.