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Classification of Law

Civil Law

Colombia's legal system is a mixture of Roman civil law and Anglo-American common law systems.  Civil law operates in areas such as family relations, property, succession, contract, and criminal law, while statutes and principles of common law origin are evident in such areas as constitutional law, procedure, corporations law, taxation, insurance, labour relations, banking and currency.

Civil law systems are based on concepts derived from old Roman law, distinguishable by their reliance on having a comprehensive set of rules and principles codified and easily accessible to both citizens and legal professionals. Codified laws are regularly revised to reflect the current environment, and have stronger emphasis in civil law countries than any precedent set by earlier court cases. Civil law countries cover more than 65% of world’s legal system, including the majority of continental Europe, Central and South America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

eSignature Legality Summary

Under Colombian law, a written signature is not necessarily required for a valid contract – contracts are valid if legally competent parties reach an agreement, whether they agree verbally, electronically or in a physical paper document (Colombian Commercial Code). Law 527 of 1999 specifically confirms that contracts cannot be denied enforceability merely because they are concluded electronically. To prove a valid contract, parties sometimes have to present evidence in court. Leading digital transaction management solutions can provide electronic records that are admissible in evidence in accordance with article 10 of Law 527 of 1999 and Law 1437 of 2011, to support the existence, authenticity and valid acceptance of a contract.

Use Cases for Standard Electronic Signatures (SES)

Use cases where an SES is typically appropriate include:

  • HR documents such as Employment Contracts, benefits paperwork, other new employee onboarding processes, NDA's, employee invention agreements etc.
  • commercial agreements between corporate entities including NDAs, procurement documents, sales agreements, purchase orders, order acknowledgements, invoices, other distribution agreements, service agreements
  • consumer agreements including new retail account opening documents, sales terms, services terms, software licenses, purchase orders, order confirmations, invoices, shipment documentation, user manuals, policies, but excludes consumer loan agreements
  • real estate documents including Lease agreements and other related documentation for residential and commercial real estate

Use Cases That Are Not Typically Appropriate for Electronic Signatures or Digital Transaction Management

Use cases that are specifically barred from digital or electronic processes or that include explicit requirements, such as handwritten (e.g. wet ink) signatures or formal notarial process that are not usually compatible with electronic signatures or digital transaction management.

  • Notarization - real property transfer contracts and deeds but not lease contracts and other contracts related to real estate, which can be signed validly via electronic signature
  • Notarization - intangible property transfers (e.g., patent and copyright assignments - but not non-exclusive patent, copyright or other IP licenses, which can be validly signed via any form of electronic signature)
  • Notarization - securitization documents, which usually include contracts of surety, mortgages, personal guarantees
  • Notarization - family law contracts or agreements (e.g., marriage contracts, prenuptials, divorce settlement agreements, adoptions, etc., contracts governed by the law of succession, such as contracts of inheritance, contracts waiving inheritance, inheritance sale)
  • Notarization - government means forms and documentation to be submitted to government agencies, including valid DocuSign contracts and documents when they have to be submitted for registration in government registries

A Digital Signature in Colombia has a number of characteristics that are attributed by law, such as the full identification of the sender of the message data, the incorruptibility of it from referral to its destination, and therefore, the acceptance of the content of the message by the sender. In order to verify compliance with these features, the digital signature must be certified. Decree 333 of 2014 defined the certificate as a data message signed by the certification body which identifies both, the certification entity that issues the certificate and the subscriber, containing the public key thereof.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing electronic signature may change quickly, so DocuSign cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. Should 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: November 01, 2019

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