ARTICLE
18 March 2024

Electronic Signatures Under Bahraini Law

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Raees + Co

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The impact of technology in the legal world is undebatable. Legislators are continuously faced with new technological challenges and possibilities to enact laws that safeguard individuals from harm.
Bahrain Technology
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The impact of technology in the legal world is undebatable. Legislators are continuously faced with new technological challenges and possibilities to enact laws that safeguard individuals from harm. In this article, we will focus on the regulations governing the electronic signatures in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The principal law governing electronic communications under Bahraini Law is Law No. 54/2018 issuing the Electronic Communications and Transactions Law (the "Law") repealing the previous Law No. 28/2002. The enactment of the Law enhances the protection of all transactions and dispositions of all types in electronic form.

Scope of Application

The Law applies to all types of transactions and actions along with title deeds and negotiable instruments in electronic form. The law shall not prejudice any provision of any other law relating to consumer protection. A person will not be required to deal in electronic communications without his express consent, and it shall not prohibit any person who wishes to deal in such communications from setting reasonable conditions that guarantee his consent.

Pursuant to Article 4 of the Law, a decision of the minister of the relevant body shall be issued in respect of the scope and range of consent and the regulatory requirements to send and receive any electronic communications from the public body. Such consent shall be subject to the technical requirements specified by the decision.

Electronic Records

Electronic Records is defined under the Law as any information that is generated or stored electronically, including all information logically linked to or associated with the Record. In other words, Electronic Records are equivalent to paper records but exist in digital format (e.g. emails and digital images).

When specific requirements are met, as provided under Article 5 of the Law, Electronic Records shall be considered as equivalent to private documents and will have an evidential weight as public documents recognized under Law No. 14/1996 on the Issuance of the Law of Evidence in Civil and Commercial Matters.

Electronic Signature

Electronic Signature is defined under the Law as the data in electronic form contained in an Electronic Record, which is used to identify the signatory along with his intention. Article 6 of the Law indicates that where a party's signature is required by law, an electronic signature could fulfil that requirement if the method used is reliable to the purpose for which the Record was created or sent, or in light of the relevant circumstances (i.e. ensuring data integrity, ability to prevent unauthorized use, etc).

Wherein a secure certificate for Electronic Signature is used to sign an Electronic Record, the Law presumes it validity until proven otherwise:

  • The Electronic Signature on the Electronic Record is the signature of the certificate holder;
  • The Electronic Signature on the Electronic Record was affixed by the certificate holder for the purpose of signing the Record;
  • The Electronic Record has not been altered since the Electronic Signature was affixed thereto.

Challenging the Validity of the Electronic Records, Communications and Signatures

A party may plead forgery of the Electronic Records, Communications, Seals and Signatures. Pursuant to such plead, the competent court may rule on the pleas or defenses in accordance with the rules of evidence and in the manner consistent with the nature of such Electronic Records, Communications and Signatures.

Concluding Remarks

The Law weighs Electronic Signatures to be just as secure as a traditional signature. As many businesses transform into the digital world, Electronic Signatures provide several benefits, as it is a more convenient and efficient way to sign documents anywhere and anytime. The significance of establishing laws governing this matter will safeguard the individuals from being misled.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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