Overview of eSignature Legality in Singapore
Singapore was one of the first few countries in the world to introduce legislation to enable electronic commerce. Singapore’s Electronic Transactions Act (ETA) was enacted in 1998. The Act provides a legal framework that sets out the rights and obligations of parties in the course of electronic commerce, as well as the legal aspects of electronic contracts, digital signatures, authentication and non-repudiation. Singapore was the first country in the world to adopt the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce. The government of Singapore encourages businesses to transact electronically, and maintain electronic records.
Electronic Signature Law
Electronic Transaction Act (ETA) defines that information shall not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability solely on the ground that it is in the form of an electronic record.
Are eSignatures legal, admissible, and enforceable?
Summary of Law
The ETA is established to promote public confidence in the integrity and reliability of electronic records and electronic commerce, and to foster the development of electronic commerce through the use of electronic signatures to lend authenticity and integrity to correspondence in any electronic medium.
The signature method that is used to identify the person must be either reliable for the purpose for which the electronic record was generated or communicated, or proven to have identified the person and to indicate the person’s intention with respect to the information by itself or together with further evidence.
In Singapore, for an electronic signature to be valid, it must meet the following conditions:
- Electronic signature should have an assurance about the probity of information in the form a electronic record, from the time it was created
- Electronic record must be capable of being displayed to a person when needed to be provided to the person
- Electronic records should adhere to the requirements specified by government and public agencies supervising the provision or retention of such electronic records
The following matters are exempted from the scale of operation of the ETA, and cannot be electronically signed:
- The creation or execution of a will
- Negotiable instruments, documents of title, bills of exchange, promissory notes, consignment notes, bills of lading, warehouse receipts or any transferable document or instrument that entitles the bearer or beneficiary to claim the delivery of goods or the payment of a sum of money
- The creation, performance or enforcement of an indenture, declaration of trust or power of attorney, with the exception of implied, constructive and resulting trusts
- Any contract for the sale or other disposition of immovable property, or any interest in such property
- The conveyance of immovable property or the transfer of any interest in immovable property
Disclaimer: This information is intended for general informational purposes only. It is meant to help companies understand the legal framework used for eSignature legality. This is not intended to be legal advice and should not be a substitute for professional legal advice. Consult a licensed attorney for legal advice or representation.