The extent of the legal force of Electronic correspondence on Evidence under the United Arab Emirates legislation
Today, we are living in a world where computers and the internet became one of its characteristics and substantial features, we depend on these inventions which entered in the details of our daily life. Emails became a part of us as our names are, most of our dealings with each other, with a third party and our bank transactions, are dealt with by Data messages. And on which commercial companies primarily depend on. Therefore, the legality of the Data messages on evidence became an important issue and subject of study. so, we will discuss this subject under the United Arab Emirates legislation and review these regulations issued in this condition. the search of Data messages and the extent of its legal force on Evidence in the United Arab Emirates is considered one of the most important issues that arouse questioning among the public, and we will high light this matter through reviewing the article No.(17 bis) of the Law on evidence in civil and commercial transactions, and in accordance with the articles No. 1 of 2006 of the Federal Law concerning electronic transactions and commerce:
Article (17 bis) of the Law on evidence in civil and commercial transactions stipulate the following:
- Are considered electronic signatures, all letters, figures, symbols, signs, pictures or sounds, that have their distinct character allowing the identification of the author of this signature and distinguish him from others as specified in the Law on Electronic Transactions and Commerce.
- Shall be considered an electronic correspondence, each transmission or emission or reception or storage of symbols, signs, writings, pictures, sounds or data, of whatever nature performed through a means of information technology.
- The electronic signature has the same probative force given to the signatures referred to in the present law; in case the provisions of the law on electronic transactions and commerce are observed.
- Electronic writings, correspondence, registers and documents having the same probative force given by this Law to formal and informal writings and correspondence, whenever it satisfies the conditions and provisions outlined in the Law on Electronic Transactions and Commerce.
In accordance with the article 4\2006 of the federal law concerning the law of electronic transactions and commerce: this law aims at protection of the dealers, to define their commitments, to encourage and to facilitate the electronic transactions and correspondence through reliable electronic records, and promote confidence in the integrity and validity of the electronic transactions, correspondence and records. Following the article 4 (2) of the same law: information contained in the Data messages are of legal force When the details of this information are accessible within the context electronic system of the originator and the message indicates the method of access.
The article (4) of the Federal Law (1) of 2006 concerning electronic transactions and commerce also guarantees the legal effect of the Data message and its argument herein as follows:
- A Data Message is not without legal force and effect merely because it is in Electronic form.
- A Data Message that refers to information, without providing details of that information, is not without legal force, so far as this information is accessible within the context of the Electronic System of the Originator and the Message indicates the method of access.
In accordance with the article (10) of the same act, Data message or electronic signature is admissible as a proof of evidence, even if that letter or signature is not original and in its original form, as long as the Data message or the electronic signature is the best evidence that could be reasonably expected to obtain by the person who cites it, until the contrary is proved, it is assumed that the correct electronic record has not changed since its establishment. The article (10) of the same law concerning the admittance and the legal force of the electronic evidence stipulates as follows:
- In any legal proceedings, nothing in the application of the rules of evidence shall apply to prevent the admission of a Data Message or Electronic Signature in evidence:
- because the message or signature is in Electronic format; or
- b) if it is the best evidence that the person adducing it could reasonably be expected to obtain because the message or signature is not original or in its original form.
2- In assessing the evidential weight of Electronic Information, regard shall be given to:
- a) the reliability of how one or more of the operations of executing, entering, generating, processing, storing, presenting or communicating was performed;
- b) the reliability of how the integrity of the information was maintained;
- c) the reliability of the source of information, if identifiable;
- d) the reliability of how the Originator was identified;
- e) any other factor that may be relevant
3- Absent proof to the contrary, it shall be presumed that a Secure Electronic Signature:
- a) is reliable;
- b) is the signature of the person to whom it correlates; and
- c) was affixed by that person to sign or approve the Data Message attributed to him
4- Absent proof to the contrary, it shall be presumed that a Secure Electronic Record:
- a) remained unaltered since creation; and
- b) is reliable.
Thus, we find that the Emirates legislator has taken a trend concordant with the informatics development that forms our reality, and the same has given legal protection for the electronic correspondence and has determined the controls that govern them through organizing the aforementioned legislations.