Classification of Law

Civil Law

Thailand'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.

E-Signature Legality Summary

Electronic signatures have been endorsed in Thailand by virtue of the ETA. The ETA sets out that a legal enforceability or binding effect cannot be denied merely because it is concluded electronically unless a transaction relates to certain prescribed matters which restrict the use of electronic signatures.

Types of Electronic Signature

Under the ETA, “Electronic Signatures” are defined as letters, characters, numbers, sound or any other symbols created in an electronic form and affixed to a data message for establishing the association of a particular person with the data message for the purposes of identifying the signatory in relation to such data message and indicating that such person has approved the information contained in that data message.

There are two types of electronic signatures under the ETA: General Electronic Signatures and Reliable Electronic Signatures.

Under Section 9 of the ETA, a General Electronic Signature is one which meets the following requirements:

  • A method of signature used that can identify the signatory and indicate that the signatory has approved the information contained in the electronic document as being his own, and
  • Such method is reliable and appropriate for the purpose for which the electronic document was generated or sent, by consideration of surrounding circumstances or an agreement between the parties.

Section 26 of the ETA provides the criteria for a Reliable Electronic Signature as follows:

  • The signature creation data are, within the context in which they are used, linked to the signatory and to no other person;
  • The signature creation data were, at the time of creating the electronic signature, under the control of the signatory and of no other person;
  • Any alteration to the electronic signature, made as from the time of its creation, is detectable; and
  • In the case where a purpose of the legal requirement for an electronic signature is to provide assurance as to the integrity of the information, any alteration made to that information as from the time of signing is detectable.

Documents That May be Signed Electronically

The following categories typically do not have specific formal requirements under Thai law; therefore, any form of electronic signature that meets the definitions above may be used:

  • NDAs
  • Software Licensing
  • Life Sciences
  • Technology sector
  • Documents to be Recorded
  • Consumer Transactions

The following categories may have specific formal statutory requirements under Thai law that requires a signature, however, these categories do not require use of a General Electronic Signature or a Reliable Electronic Signature under the ETA:

  • HR
  • Corporate Resolutions
  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Insurance

Further Guidance

While the use of electronic signatures is not prohibited for the following transaction types, caution should be exercised before using electronic signatures for the listed transactions:

  • Procurement
  • Banking
  • Lending
  • Chattel Paper
  • Government filings

Although the use of electronic signatures is upheld by virtue of the ETA, certain types of transactions/documents may be subject to specific requirements from Thai authorities and/or regulated financial institutions or organizations in respect of types of acceptable signatures.

To assess the evidentiary weight of whether a data message or an electronic signature used on such data message is reliable, certain factors should be considered such as the reliability of the manner in which or the method by which (i) the data message was generated, stored or communicated, (ii) the integrity of the information was maintained, and (iii) its originator was identified or indicated.

Case Law

The following two cases are examples of where Thai courts have addressed the use of electronic signatures:

  • Supreme Court case no. 8089/2556, and
  • Supreme Court case no. 6757/2560.

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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