Thailand has recognized electronic signatures (or “eSignatures”) since 2001, with the passage of The Electronic Transactions Act (ETA). eSignatures are commonly used in Thailand for a variety of commercial transactions.
Under Thai 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. It allows that an electronic signature will be recognized as the equivalent of a traditional handwritten signature if the following conditions are met:
- The method used to sign identifies the signer, is linked to the signer, and represents the signer’s intentions;
- Information used for the signed document can only be controlled by the signer;
- Any alterations to the signed document can be detected; and
- The method used to sign is reliable and appropriate for the purpose of the signed document.
The signer also bears the responsibility for keeping the signed document within their control to prevent any unauthorized use, damage, or alteration.
Common eSignature use cases
Use cases where electronic signatures are considered appropriate in Thailand include:
- HR documents such as employment contracts, benefit paperwork, and other new employee onboarding documents
- Purchase, procurement, and commercial agreements between corporate entities including invoices, trade and payment terms, certain sales and distribution agreements, and NDAs
- Consumer agreements including new retail account opening documents, sales and service terms, invoices, shipment details, and user manuals
- Real estate documents, including residential and commercial lease agreements for a period of no more than 3 years
Use cases where eSignature is not appropriate
Certain use cases are specifically barred from electronic processes or require formal notarization in Thailand, making them incompatible with electronic signature. These include:
- Contract of sale of immovable property
- Contract of sale of ships five tons or over, floating houses, or beasts of burden
- Contracts of a gift of immovable property, ships five tons or over, floating houses, or beasts of burden
- Contract of sale with right of redemption of immovable property, ships five tons or over, floating houses, or beasts of burden
- A hire of immovable property for a period of more than 3 years
- Mortgage contract
- Transactions relating to family
- Transactions relating to succession
Technology standards in Thailand
The requirements for electronic signature technology vary significantly between countries. Thailand’s ETA does not distinguish between different types of electronic signatures, so any electronic signature that meets the general requirements (outlined above) is recognized as the legal equivalent of a traditional handwritten signature.
That said, in May 2020, the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA), which is responsible for promoting and supporting electronic transactions in Thailand, issued the “ETDA Recommendations on ICT Standard for Electronic Transactions on Electronic Signature Guidelines.” While these guidelines are meant to clarify the ETA and are not legally enforceable, they define three categories of electronic signatures with increasing degrees of reliability. The guidelines recommend that the parties to an agreement should consider all relevant factors when selecting the type of electronic signature to use.
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