Is digital signature accepted under Cambodian law?

Is e-contract legal in Cambodia? If so, what does the Cambodian law requires to sign a valid e-contract?

e-contract in Cambodia

Legality of e-contracts in Cambodia

Short answer is a yes. I’ll explain.

The Civil Code (Book Four “Obligations” and Book Five Particular “Types of Contracts and Torts”) governs contractual relations in Cambodia. It states that a contract should be valid so long as it is formed without following defects:

  • a mistake on the substantial terms of the contract (Art. 346),
  • fraud (Art. 347),
  • misrepresentation (Art. 348),
  • abuse of circumstances (Art. 349)
  • duress (Art. 350)
  • act of making excessive benefits (Art. 351)
  • mental reservation (Art. 352)
  • fictitious of declaration of intention (Art. 353)
  • contract in violation of laws or public order and good morals (Art. 354)
  • initial impossibility (Art. 355)

Also, Sub-decree No. 246 on Digital Signature dated 29 December 2017 further strengthens the legality of electronic contracts (e-contracts) in Cambodia.

So, as you can see, e-contracts are legal and valid under Cambodian laws provided that they meet the legal requirements set forth in the applicable law and regulations.

Ok, now let’s look at the legal requirements.

Legal requirements in relation to signing of e-contracts in Cambodia

Simply put, it must contain a valid digital signature.

At present, the Sub-decree on Digital Signature is the only legal instrument governing electronic contracts in Cambodia. It sets forth two important legal requirements:

  1. The digital signature must be issued by a Certifying Agency (CA) or Retailing Agency (RA) that is registered with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (Art. 14-17).
  2. It must at least include the accurate and proper identity of the digital signatory, the original state of such electronic message, and the signing date and time.

CA and RA must, however, be licensed by the Ministry in accordance with a Prakas, which has not been issued yet. So for now, there has not been a licensed CA or RA in Cambodia yet.

However, a CA or RA that are licensed overseas may be used for the execution of e-contracts. In fact, many banks and financial institutions have been doing so for several years.

About the Author

Over 12 years of legal experience working with both local and international organizations, plus law education from both Cambodia and Japan. Contact Samphy about your legal question: ysamphy@nitesastra.com

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