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Classification of Law

Civil Law

Philippines'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 Philippine law, a written signature is not necessarily required for a valid contract - contracts are generally valid if legally competent parties reach an agreement, whether they agree verbally, electronically or in a physical paper document, and if the following essential requisites are present: (1) consent of the contracting parties, (2) object certain which is the subject matter of the contract, and (3) cause of the obligations which is established (Civil Code of the Philippines, Article 1318). Republic Act No. 8792, otherwise known as the Electronic Commerce Act, together with its Implementing Rules and regulations, specifically confirms that contracts cannot be denied enforceability merely because they are concluded electronically. Parties may generally use electronic signatures to create valid contracts provided that there are no specific statutory requirements to the contrary. 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 under A.M. No. 01-7-01-SC, otherwise known as the Rules on Electronic Evidence, to support the existence, authenticity and valid acceptance of a contract.

Use Cases for Standard Electronic Signature (SES)

Use cases where an SES is typically appropriate include:

  • HR documents such as regular employment contracts, NDAs, employee invention agreements, privacy notices, benefits paperwork and other new employee onboarding process
  • commercial agreements between corporate entities including NDAs, purchase orders, order acknowledgements, invoices, other procurement documents, sales agreements, distribution agreements and service agreements
  • consumer agreements including new retail account opening documents, sales terms, service terms, software licenses, shipment documentation, user manuals and polices.
  • intellectual property licenses (excluding trademark licenses)
  • intangible property transfers

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.

  • Formal notarization - acts and contracts which have for their object the creation, transmission, modification or extinguishment of real rights over immovable property (Civil Code of Philippines)
  • Formal notarization - the cession, repudiation or renunciation of hereditary rights or of those of the conjugal partnership of gains (Civil Code of Philippines)
  • Formal notarization - the power to administer property, or any other power which has for its object an act appearing or which should appear in a public document, or should prejudice a third person (Civil Code of Philippines)
  • Formal notarization - the cession of actions or rights proceeding from an act appearing in a public document (Civil Code of Philippines)
  • Formal notarization - other deeds and documents that are required under applicable laws and regulations to appear in a public document (Civil Code of Philippines)

[1] A Digital Signature is a type of secure electronic signature consisting of a transformation of an electronic document or an electronic data message using an asymmetric or public cryptosystem such that a person having the initial untransformed electronic document and the signer’s public key can accurately determine: (a) whether the transformation was created using the private key that corresponds to the signer’s public key; and (b) whether the initial electronic document had been altered after the transformation was made.

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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