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.
Saudi Arabia’s Electronic Transactions Law (Art. 8) explicitly permits electronic records as long as:
- technical means and conditions are followed to ensure the integrity of the information from the time of creation; and,
- the information in the record can be provided upon request.
Electronic transactions, signatures and records are deemed reliable as evidence, unless proven otherwise (Art. 9). If an electronic transaction is questioned, the reliability will be assessed based on:
- the method used to create, store or communicate and the possibility that the record can be tampered with;
- the method used to maintain the integrity of the information in the record; and,
- the method used to identify the originator of the record (i.e., who created the record).
Generally, if an employer is seeking to rely on a document to enforce legal rights, a signature or acknowledgment should be obtained from the employee as a best practice.