As computers and technology play an important role in our daily life, many transactions are not only played out within the confines of each individual country but across borders throughout the international community. The Lao PDR has realized this, and therefore has adopted the Law on Electronic Transactions (the “E-Transactions Law”) promulgated on 17 January 2013 through the National Assembly.

The E-Transactions Law defines the principles, regulations and measures in connection with electronic transactions. Under the E-Transaction Law, agreements can be made, offered and accepted all electronically but must also comply with the Law on Contract and Tort as well.

The E-Transactions Law, however, does not cover the following transactions:

  1. Wills;
  2. Certificates of birth, marriage, divorce and death;
  3. Ownership certifications;
  4. Certificates of possession of a third party’s property or power of attorney;
  5. Purchase Agreements, and transfer of ownership agreements which relate to land or immoveable property;
  6. Petitions; and
  7. Bonds, invoices, bills of lading or any documents which the owner or beneficiary can claim its right.
Electronic Documents

Electronic documents are acceptable and enforceable when made correctly in accordance with the E-Transactions Law and other relevant laws. In case the law requires that the documents shall be made in writing, whether in the form of paper or electronically, such electronic documents will constitute a legal effect when the information contained in the documents is able to be freely accessed at any time and used as a reference.

The use of electronic documentation as evidence in a court is acceptable as any other documentary evidence unless otherwise specified. The court will consider the following factors in order to interpret a statement which is in the form of data or an electronic document:

  1. Creation, maintenance or communication of the statement;
  2. Completeness of the statement;
  3. Technical methods; and
  4. Other relevant factors.
Electronic Signature

The E-Transactions Law acknowledges use of electronic signatures in transactions. Electronic signatures have been classified into 3 categories as follows:

  1. Basic electronic signatures;
  2. Basic digital signatures; and
  3. Protected digital signatures.

The use of electronic signatures is acceptable if the parties of the agreement mutually agreed to use one of the above categories of electronic signatures. In the case of protected digital signatures, compliance with the regulations of the Ministry of Science and Technology must also be observed.

Electronic signatures will be enforceable and reliable when the following conditions are met:

  1. The name of the owner of the signature, and the date and time when the signature was made are indicated;
  2. The technique of the electronic signature system is programmed and protected by the owner of the signature only;
  3. The electronic signature which is made by the electronic signature system is maintained and protected by the owner of the signature only;
  4. The electronic signature system can access every data system which has the electronic signature in order to demonstrate the change of data or electronic documents.

Moreover, in case any law specifies that entities or organizations must affix its seal on the documents in order to have legal effect, such electronic documents with the protected digital signature will be considered as having the same legal value as the documents which are signed and affixed with the seal on paper.

The Ministry of Science and Technology is the authority directly responsible for management of using the E-Transactions Law as well as regulating the relevant regulations to implement the said law.

Mr. Rawat Chomsri, Partner

Ms. Natchar Leedae, Advisor

Ms. Salin Thewphaingam, Advisor