Are electronic signatures legal in Hong Kong?

E-signatures have been legally recognised in Hong Kong since 2000, since the Transactions Ordinance Act of 2000 (“ETO”). Giving businesses the option to use them whilst trading.

 

Legal Model

Hong Kong’s legal model is a tiered one. This means that Qualified Electronic Signatures 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 extra evidence to support it.

Legal Classification

Hong Kong operates a Common Law system, which is based on:

  • Judicial decisions are seen as binding
  • Laws aren’t always of a written structure
  • Few provisions are hinted at into the contract, by law
  • Generally, everything is permitted that isn’t expressly prohibited by law

Few provisions are implied into a contract under the common law system – so it’s important to cover all the terms governing the relationship between the parties to a contract in the contract itself. This usually means that contracts are typically longer than one in a civil law country.

Full Summary

The Electronic Transaction Ordinance (ETO), (established in 2000) in Hong Kong law highlights that a handwritten signature isn’t always needed for a contract to be considered credible, and that contracts can’t be refused for simply being electronic. They’ll usually be seen as such as long as legally able individuals have reached an agreement (this can be by agreeing verbally, electronically or by physically signing something).

Disclaimer

The information in the legality guides are for general information purposes only and are not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing electronic signature may change quickly, so Signable cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. If you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.
Last updated on: January 2020