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Classification of Law

Civil Law

Russia'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 Russian 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 in a physical paper document and in some instances electronically or verbally (Clauses 158 - 160 of Russian Civil Code). Article 6 of Federal Law of the Russian Federation No. 63-FZ “On Electronic Signature” dated 6 April 2011 (as amended) (E-Signature Law) establishes cases when electronic signatures may be used instead of signatures made on paper. To prove a valid contract, parties sometimes have to present evidence in court. Leading digital transaction management solutions can provide electronic records that may be admissible in evidence, to support the existence, authenticity and valid acceptance of a contract, so long as relevant requirements under E-Signature Law and the Russian Code of Civil Procedure are complied with.

Use Cases for Standard Electronic Signature (SES)

Use cases where an SES is typically appropriate include:

  • If the parties to the agreement have agreed[1] (in advance) to contract electronically:
    • commercial agreements between corporate entities (including NDAs, procurement documents, sales agreements)
    • consumer agreements (including new retail account opening documents)
    • short-term real estate documents (including Lease agreements, purchase and sales contracts, 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.

  • documents requiring state registration, such as long-term real estate or rent agreement
  • power of attorney, which requires notarization

[1] It is unclear whether the parties agreement can be implicit, such as by proceeding with DTM or affixing electronic signatures. It may be advisable to agree to contract electronically using handwritten signature or QES.

[2] An AES is an “E-signature”, that meets the following requirements: (a) is created by way of encryption processing of information using an E-Signature code; (b) allows to identify a person who signed an electronic documents; (c) allows to detect the fact of changing the electronic document after its execution; and (d) is created with use of E-Signature means.

[3] A QES is an AES that meets the following requirements: (a) the verification E-Signature key is indicated in the qualified certificate; (b) E-Signature means which have documents of their compliance with Russian legislation (certificates of compliance, declarations of conformity) are used for the purposes of establishment and verification of the E-Signature.

Local Technology Standards

Usually a verification key is used (in a Russian Advanced (AES) or Qualified (QES) electronic signature) in order to check the authenticity of the E-Signature. Such keys are generally specified in the verification keys certificates issued by certifying centers. Verification key of QES must be indicated in the qualified certificate, i.e., a certificate issued by the Ministry of Communications and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation (“Minsvyaz”) or certifying centers accredited under Minsvyaz.

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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