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The revised Law on E-Transactions, passed on June 22, 2023 and will come into force on July 1, 2024, is expected to be a substantial step towards promoting and standardizing electronic transactions in Vietnam.
The new Law, which is structured in seven chapters with 54 articles, aims to address shortcomings and limitations of current regulations and introduce clearer and more specific instructions for management and performance of e-transactions. In addition to revisions regarding the governing scope, state management of e-transactions and information systems serving e-transactions, the new Law focuses on legal recognition of e-signatures, validity of data messages, and conclusion and performance of e-contracts.
Scope of regulation
Noteworthily, the Law provides a general scope of regulation, comprising of all transactions performed by electronic means. However, it neither regulates the content, forms and conditions of transactions nor governs transactions not allowed to be performed via electronic means, and in such case, relevant specialized laws will apply.
The new law devotes a whole chapter to providing for data massages, underlining that “information stated in a data message cannot have its legal validity disclaimed for the sole reason that it is expressed in the form of data message”. Moreover, with a view to facilitating the use of data messages in e-transactions, the Law specifies conditions for data messages to be as valid as written documents or original documents and requirements for conversion of data messages to paper documents and vice versa.
E-signature is defined under the Law as signature created in the form of electronic data that is attached or logically associated with a data message to identify the signatory and authenticate its/his/her consent to the data message. Other forms of identification of the signatory by electronic means such as inserting image of handscript signature or using scanned signature, one-time password (OTP) signature, and text message (SMS) signatures are not considered e-signature. However, in order to suit reality, the Law does mention the use of these forms, saying that it will comply with relevant specialized laws.
With the aim of facilitating the conclusion and performance of e-contracts, the Law makes it clear that during the conclusion and performance of an e-contract, parties may agree with each other on the use of data messages or electronic means as well as on technical requirements and conditions for ensuring the integrity and confidentiality of the e-contract.- (VLLF)