Electronic Signature Laws & Regulations - Thailand

Overview

In Thailand, electronic signatures are commonly used in commercial transactions in the private sector. Certain state agencies have also adopted the use of electronic signatures. Thailand’s Electronic Transaction Act (ETA) governs electronic transactions, including electronic signatures. The ETA recognizes the validity of electronic documents or data messages that bear an electronic signature. Under the ETA, a document will not be denied legal effect and enforceability solely on the grounds that it is in an electronic format.

General Requirements of Electronic Signatures

Under the ETA, an electronic signature will be recognized as equivalent to a “wet” signature if it meets the following requirements:

  1. The method used to sign is capable of identifying the signatory and representing the signatory’s intentions regarding the information contained in the electronic data; and
  2. The method used to sign is reliable and appropriate for the purpose for which the data message was generated or sent, or is capable of verifying the signatory and representing the signatory’s intentions regarding the information contained in the electronic data – along with any other evidence in the event that the method itself is not sufficient to meet such requirements.

Reliable Electronic Signature Assumption

An electronic signature will be deemed reliable if:

  1. The signature creation data is, within the context in which it is used, linked to the signatory, and to no other person;
  2. The signature creation data was, at the time of signing, under the control of the signatory, and no other person;
  3. Any post-signing alteration is detectable; and
  4. Where the signature is meant to indicate that the signatory attests to the completeness and the integrity of the information, any alteration made to that information is detectable from the time of signing.

The ETA doesn’t distinguish between different types of electronic signatures. Accordingly, any electronic signature that meets the above requirements will be recognized as equivalent to a “wet” signature.

Notwithstanding the above, the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (“ETDA”), which is the state agency that is responsible for promoting and supporting electronic transactions in Thailand, has recently issued the ETDA Recommendation on ICT Standard for Electronic Transactions on Electronic Signature Guidelines (“Guidelines”). The Guidelines clarify the requirements of the ETA and provide examples of the types of electronic signatures that would satisfy these requirements.

The Guidelines have been issued to provide further clarification on the requirements of the ETA. However, they are not legally enforceable and there is no statutory penalty for a violation of the Guidelines.

Under the Guidelines, an electronic signature is classified into the following three categories (each with an increasing degree of reliability):

  1. Regular Electronic Signatures – This category of electronic signature refers to general electronic signature which can be in any form, e.g., a letter, character, or number, which is created in accordance with the ‘General Requirements of Electronic Signatures’, as described above. Examples of this category of electronic signature include signing with a stylus, clicking an ‘accept’ button on an electronic contract, and email signatures.
  2. Reliable Electronic Signatures – A reliable electronic signature refers to an electronic signature which is created in accordance with the ‘Reliable Electronic Signature Assumption’, as described above. An example of a reliable electronic signature would be a digital signature using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology.
  3. Reliable Electronic Signatures with a certificate issued by a certification authority – This category of electronic signatures refers to electronic signatures which are created in accordance with the ‘Reliable Electronic Signature Assumption’, as described above, and which are certified/issued by a certification authority under the ETA. For example, a digital signature using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology and using a certificate issued by a certification authority.

The Guidelines recommend that, when selecting the type of electronic signature to use in a transaction, the parties should consider relevant factors such as the applicable law, the frequency of the transactions, the nature of the transactions, the value of the transaction, the devices used by the parties, the ordinary course of business, and the industry practice.


Special considerations

According to a subordinate regulation issued under the ETA, electronic signatures cannot be applied to matters of family law and succession law. Apart from matters of family and succession law, the ETA does not prescribe any other specific circumstances or processes that cannot be conducted electronically. However, in practice, the following use cases also require a traditional “wet” signature:

  • Power of Attorney
  • Sale of immovable property
  • Certain transactions with public sector entities:
    • Land registration, including the cadastral survey process;
    • Registration of marriage;
    • Registration of divorce;
    • Application for certain business licenses (e.g. Foreign business license/Certificate and payment system business licenses);
    • Legalization of documents;
    • Application for ID cards;
    • Application for a house registration book; and
    • Registration of a change of name.

Transacting with public sector entities
Under the ETA, state agencies are required to provide their rules and procedures for the use of electronic documents and electronic signatures. In regard to electronic signatures, state agencies must provide methods that are capable of identifying the signatory, the type, characteristic, and format of an electronic signature, and of demonstrating that the signatory certifies information appeared in the electronic documents. If transactions conducted with state agencies electronically are made in accordance with the requirements as prescribed by each state agency, such transactions (including electronic signatures) shall be deemed to have the same legal effect as the transaction or act performed traditionally.

Note:

Disclaimer: Information on this page is intended to help businesses understand the legal framework of electronic signatures. However, Adobe cannot provide legal advice. You should consult an attorney regarding your specific legal questions. Laws and regulations change frequently, and this information may not be current or accurate. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Adobe provides this material on an "as-is" basis. Adobe disclaims and makes no representation or warranty of any kind with respect to this material, express, implied or statutory, including representations, guarantees or warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or accuracy.

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