The Electronic Transactions Regulation, Royal Decree No. M/18 of 8th Rabi Awal 1428 Hejra corresponding to 26th March 2007 Gregorian and its Implementing Rules are based on the relevant documents prepared by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.
The legislation is aimed at establishing functional equivalence between the following electronic communications and their paper-based counterparts:
01. documents or information stored in paper with documents or information stored in the form of an electronic record;
02. documents, records or information provided in written form with documents, records or information provided in electronic form;
03. written contracts made through offer and acceptance to with contracts concluded by electronic means; and
04. written signatures with electronic signatures.
The Regulation sets out the technical requirements which electronic documents have to satisfy in order to unquestionably produce presumed legal effect, validity and enforceability, which are:
01. the content of electronic documents is stored in a way that preserves these documents in their original form by keeping electronic records in the form in which they were initiated, sent or delivered, attesting a time seal recognized by the National Centre for Digital Certification or any time seal expressly agreed by the parties;
02. information in electronic form can be lined to particular persons or entities for ensuring the integrity of such information, for which purpose electronic documents need to be accompanied by a digital certification certificate, issued by an authorized service provider, generating the legal presumption for courts that the electronic signature is a valid signature; and
03. authorship of information is secured, for which purpose holders of digital certificates must take necessary precautions to avoid any unlawful use of the data pertaining to the construction of signature and to personal equipment relating to their signature, to exclude unauthorized access to the digital certificate and the electronic signature documents, to apply safe technology as prescribed in the digital certificate, and to notify the certification service provider of unlawful use of the electronic signature.
Electronic documents that satisfy the above requirements must be admitted as presumptive evidence in legal proceedings. If, however, electronic transactions do not satisfy the above requirements, as may be the case for many electronic transactions, the Regulation prescribes the following methods to assess their reliability to qualify as evidence:
01. the method of creating, storing or communicating an electronic record and the possibility of tampering therewith;
02. the method of maintaining the integrity of information; and
03. the method of identifying the originator.
*This Saudi Arabian Law Overview is not intended to be legal advice, and cannot be relied on as a substitute for legal advice. We make no representation that the contents of this Saudi Arabian Law Overview are or will remain accurate or current.
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