Brunei has recognized electronic signatures (or “eSignatures”) since 2001, with the passage of the Electronic Transactions Act (ETA).
Under Bruneian law, a written signature is not required for a valid agreement or contract. Contracts are generally considered valid if legally competent parties reach an agreement, whether they agree verbally, electronically, or using a physical document. The ETA specifically confirms that contracts cannot be denied enforceability just because they are created electronically.
Common eSignature use cases
Use cases where electronic signatures are considered appropriate in Brunei include:
- HR documents such as employment contracts, benefit paperwork, and other new employee onboarding documents
- Commercial agreements between corporate entities including procurement documents, sales agreements, and NDAs
- Consumer agreements
Use cases where eSignature is not appropriate
Certain use cases are specifically barred from electronic processes or require the presence of a witness in Brunei, making them incompatible with electronic signature. These include:
- The creation of any legal instrument or document under any written law relating to Islamic law
- The creation or execution of a will under any written law relating to wills
- Negotiable instruments
- Declaration of trust
- Power of attorney
- 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 such property
- Documents of title relating to immovable property
Technology standards in Brunei
The requirements for electronic signature technology vary significantly between countries. Brunei follows a tiered eSignature model, which recognizes the concept of a “Secure Electronic Signature” that uses digital signature technology enabled by a government-certified provider. A Secure Electronic Signature is presumed to be authentic and holds the same legal weight as a handwritten signature, but is not required by law for any type of transaction. A simple electronic signature is sufficient for most use cases but may require extra evidence to support it if a dispute arises.
The information on this site is for general education and informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide and should not be considered legal advice. Laws pertaining to electronic signatures may change quickly, so Conga cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information on this site. Consult with a licensed attorney for answers to any specific legal questions on this topic.
Last updated: 09/09/2021