It is public knowledge that the preventive and mandatory social distancing established by Presidential Decree No. 297/2020 due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic limits the mobility of people in Argentina and affects operative issues related to the execution of documents, including contracts.

With technology as a key ally and due to the inability to execute documents or contracts on site, it is worth mentioning that digital signatures have been regulated in Argentina by section 288 of the Argentine Civil and Commercial Code, the Digital Signature Law No. 25,506 (the “Digital Signature Law”), as regulated by Decree No. 182/2019.

The Digital Signature Law provides for two different signatures: (i) digital signatures (section 2 of the Digital Signature Law) and (ii) electronic signatures (section 5 of the Digital Signature Law).

A digital signature is the result of applying mathematic procedures to a digital document with information known to the signatory only, information which will later be verified by a third party (certifying licensee) licensed to verify digital signatures.

The requirements for a digital signature to be valid are set forth in section 9 of the Digital Signature Law. In order to use an Argentine digital signature, the signatory must be previously registered with a certifying licensee (by means of a personal interview that requires a scheduled appointment). In turn, the certifying licensee must be previously authorized by the Argentine Government.

An electronic signature is any electronic data associated to other electronic data produced by a signatory in order to identify itself that does not meet all the requirements of a digital signature.

Electronic documents signed with a digital signature are presumed to have been signed by the signatory. The enforceability of electronic documents signed with electronic signatures is weaker, as the enforcing party will be required to prove the authorship of the signature.

Although both tools are extremely useful to continue with business activity during the pandemic, if a party denies the authorship of an electronic signature, the enforcing party will be required to prove the validity of that signature.

Those digital tools are additional alternatives to execute documents.

Should you need further advice on the requirements to execute documents remotely using alternative methods, please do not hesitate to contact Juan Pablo Bove, Federico Otero, Julián Razumny, Pablo Tarantino, or Agustín Griffi, or also