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Overview of eSignature Legality in South Korea
South Korea has legally recognized eSignatures since 2013 with The Digital Signature Act. This Act provides a framework to secure the safety and reliability of electronic messages and to promote their use, thereby stimulating the use of electronic records and communications on a national level and advancing social benefit and convenience.
Electronic Signature Law
The Digital Signature Act provides the basic guidelines for eSignatures as well as the legal validity, enforceability and accessibility of them in agreements and contracts.
Are eSignatures legal, admissible, and enforceable?
Summary of Law
South Korea has a tiered eSignature legal model and recognizes digital signatures as a distinct type of eSignature.
eSignatures are valid in South Korea as long as certain guidelines stated in The Digital Signature Act are met. An important requirement is for the eSignature to be identifiable to the signatory and associated with the signed document. Additional documentation may need to be provided in court to prove a valid contract.
In some stances when the digital signatures are required, they need to meet the following criteria to be equivalent to handwritten signatures.
- The digital signature creating key shall be only held by and known only to the subscriber
- The subscriber shall be controlling and managing the digital signature creating key at the time of signing
- It shall be ascertained whether there has been any alteration in the digital signature concerned since it was affixed
- It shall be ascertained whether there has been any alteration in the electronic message concerned since digital signature was affixed
The tiered eSignature legal model in South Korea allows companies to select the type of eSignatures to use while conducting their business.
eSignatures are not recommended for:
- Documents requiring notarization
- Real estate contracts
- Marriage licenses