Are electronic signatures legal in United Arab Emirates?
Electronic signatures are a legal method of signing contracts in the United Arab Emirates. The DIFC eCommerce Law Provides the framework in which electronic signatures are seen as legally binding.
The United Arab Emirate’s legal model is an open one. This means that unlike a tiered model (that sees Qualified Electronic Signatures as a legitimate form of e-signature), there aren’t any conditions for electronic signature types. And so a QES won’t receive legal status.
The United Arab Emirates operate 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
In the United Arab Emirates, Electronic signatures are recognised in the (DIFC eCommerce Law) eCommerce Law. A key principle of the eCommerce Law is that a person can use any form of electronic authentication, as long as a statute doesn’t provide otherwise. Further, if a signature is required on a document by a rule of law, this requirement will be satisfied if a reliable electronic signature is used.
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