In Oman, Royal Decree 29/2008 established the Electronic Transactions Law (the “Law” or “ET Law”) in 2008 to regulate electronic commerce. Since the promulgation of the Law, businesses in Oman have begun to accept and use eSignatures more commonly. Accordingly, eSignatures are enforceable, admissible in court, and valid as long as they meet the requirements listed under the ET Law. Further, an electronic signatures or digital signatures issued by a Certifying Authority are considered legitimate in Oman.

As per the ET Law and applicable common law, a handwritten signature is not always required for a contract to be credible, and contracts cannot be refused merely for being electronic. They can be considered as long as legally able individuals have made an agreement, whether by verbally agreeing, electronically or physically signing something. Hence, electronic contracts cannot be dismissed only because they are electronic, according to the Electronic Transactions Law of 2008.

Reliability conditions for a valid Protected or Secured eSignatures

A Protected or Secured Electronic Signature (SES), in accordance with the presumption that reliance on this type of signatures is reasonable, it is best protected and recognised under the Law. Therefore, unless otherwise established, protected eSignatures are considered valid and have evidentiary value.

An eSignature is considered “protected” if it is possible to verify that, the eSignature is only attributable to the person who used it, the implementation of authentication procedures as required by Law are followed (i.e., by way of an electronic authentication certificate); or at the time of its execution, parties commercially accepted and agreed upon it; and that:

As long as reliance on the eSignature is reasonable, even those eSignatures that are not regarded “protected” in accordance with the Law may nonetheless be acknowledged as having legal force and effect.

Use case for SES

An SES is typically appropriate in the following use cases:

Documents that require traditional signature:

Use cases that explicitly prohibited the use of digital or electronic processes or include explicit requirements, such as formal notarial procedures or handwritten (for example, with wet ink) signatures, are typically incompatible with electronic signatures or digital transaction management.

Conclusion

In Oman, for using eSignatures, ‘protected signatures’ are the best protected type of eSignature under the Law. In order to avail the benefit of this protection, it is important to ensure the requirements for protected eSignature are satisfied. A document signed in accordance with the Electronic Transactions Law, is valid and enforceable and is given the same level of evidentiary value as paper document in Oman.

DISCLAIMER

Certinal is making available the information and materials in this article for informational purposes only and is meant to help companies understand eSignature’s application in a legal framework. Laws change rapidly and Certinal makes every reasonable effort to keep the content of this article current, hence Certinal makes no claims or representations that the information contained in this article is true, accurate, correct, or current. The law is different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and even similar laws may be interpreted differently in different courts or in different places. Since these factors differ according to individuals and businesses, Certinal is not liable for any consequence of any action taken by any third party relying on material/ information provided under this article. The contents hereof should not be construed as legal advice in any manner whatsoever. In cases you require any assistance; you must seek independent legal advice.

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