Are electronic signatures legal in Thailand?
Thailand’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.
The laws of Thailand are based on the civil law, but have been influenced by common law. The principal law sources in Thailand are:
- Constitution of Thailand – prevails over other laws.
- Acts and statutes – Many of which created and amended the 4 basic codes: Civil and Commercial Code (CCC), Penal Code (PC), Civil Procedure Code, and the Criminal Procedure Code. Newer codes include the Land Code and the Revenue Code. Years on Thai statutes are dated with the Buddhist Era (BE) year based on the Thai solar calendar.
- Emergency decree or royal proclamation – these are issued by the king, upon the advice of the cabinet, where an urgent law is needed for national security, public safety, national economic stability, or to avert a public calamity. An example is the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situation BE 2548 (2005).
- Subordinate legislation – Regulations (ministerial), orders, notifications, royal decrees, and rules.
- Supreme Court opinions and other judicial decisions – Judicial precedent in Thailand is not binding. Courts are not bound to follow their own decisions. Lower courts are not bound to follow precedents set by higher courts. However, Thai law has been influenced by common law precedent. Courts are therefore significantly influenced by earlier decisions or decisions of higher courts. The Supreme Court of Justice publishes its decisions, known as “Supreme Court Opinions”. These are frequently used as secondary authorities and are numbered according to the year issued. Other judicial decisions or rulings are published by the Administrative Court and the Constitutional Court.
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Thai 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 verbally agreeing, electronically or physically signing something (Sections 7, 9, 13 of the E-Transactions Act). And The E-transactions Act 2006 states that electronic contracts can’t be dismissed for being electronic.