Classification of Law

Civil Law - South Korea

South Korea's legal system features the harmonization of both theis a mixture of Roman civil law and Anglo-American common law systems.

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.

E-Signature Legality Summary

Electronic signatures are governed by the Digital Signature Act and the Framework Act on Electronic Documents and Transactions of Korea.

Types of Electronic Signature

An electronic signature that can identify the signatory and establish that the electronic signature was signed by the same signatory is a valid electronic signature and is acceptable under the Digital Signature Act of Korea. Under the Digital Signature Act of Korea, the enforceability of an electronic signature as a valid signature, signature and seal, or name and seal is not denied solely on the fact that the signature is in an electronic form. If the relevant statutes or regulations, or the agreement between the parties to a contract, permit the use of an electronic signature as a valid signature, signature and seal, or name and seal, such electronic signature is enforceable.

For certified electronic (digital) signatures, the Digital Signature Act of Korea has set forth and publicly announced Guidelines on Electronic Signature Certification Services (the “Guidelines”). Such enhanced electronic (digital) signatures can be certified upon assessment of compliance with the requirements under the Guidelines.

Documents That May be Signed Electronically

Any contract may be signed with an electronic signature, except in general, for surety contracts.

Further Guidance

Generally, there are no restrictions on the use of electronic signatures.

In relation to documents relating to corporate resolutions, the use of electronic signatures for minutes of general meetings of shareholders or board of directors’ meetings is, in principle, permitted. However, if such corporate resolution contains a “registrable matter” and the relevant documents must be submitted to a corporate registration court, such documents are, in practice, affixed with personal or corporate seals, in lieu of electronic signatures. Proceeding with registration of a registrable matter based on electronically signed minutes may pose difficulties in relation to the preparation of necessary documents.

In addition, as government filings are official documents, rather than “contracts,” the use of electronic signatures for the relevant documents may be accepted at the discretion of the relevant government authority, although there are no legal restrictions on the use of electronic signatures.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing the subject matter 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: September 07, 2021

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