What is the legal value of native electronic documents (that do not require signature by the parties)?
The majority of legislation generally recognizes the validity and probative value of documents that are natively electronic (i.e., created as electronic originals), subject to compliance requirements.
Pakistan’s Electronic Transaction Ordinance, 2002 (ETO 2002) gives legal recognition to electronic forms, and under the law, documents, information, records and communications cannot be denied legal recognition solely for being in an electronic format (Chapter II, Art. 3). When a document is required to be in written form, an electronic version is permitted as long as the document remains accessible for future reference (Art. 4).
When an electronic record is required to be retained in the original form, the requirement is met if:
- the integrity of the record from creation to conversion to the final form is retained; and,
- if the record is requested, it can be displayed in a legible form.
This can be assessed based on whether the record has remained complete and unaltered, except for the addition of endorsements or changes that are part of the normal course of business (Art. 5).
Based on the above, there is no restriction on storing most human resources related documents in natively electronic form.