Electronically Signed Documents: an Advancement in Brazilian Legislation

You may know that Brazilian law expressly permits that documents get signed electronically. But did you know that recently there was a change in the Brazilian Legislation that granted a special condition to electronically signed documents?

In July of 2023, the Federal Law No. 14.620 entered into force and brought an important change to the Brazilian Civil Judicial Process Code. From now on, documents signed electronically by its parties will no longer need to be executed by two witnesses to be granted the status of an enforceable instrument, as long as the electronic signatures are authenticated by a signing platform.

Now, you might be asking: why is it important that the document is considered an enforceable instrument? In Brazil, two different types of judicial proceedings can be started before our Civil Courts: the “knowledge process” (in Portuguese, the processo de conhecimento) and the “execution process” (in Portuguese, the processo de execução).

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Documents or legal relationships that are not formalized in an enforceable instrument must go through the “knowledge process”, which can be very time demanding and money-wise because it is the portion of the judicial proceeding in which the judge will analyze if there is a legal relation and obligations between the parties.

Meanwhile, judicial proceedings based on enforceable titles can usually skip the “knowledge process” and go directly to the “execution process”, in which the judge formally awards one of the parties. That is because Brazilian law considers that the information in an executive title is truthful and valid, thus there is no need for a discussion about the existence of the legal relationship.

Before Federal Law No. 14.620 entered into force, a contract had to be executed by at least two witnesses to be granted the status of an enforceable title. From now on, witnesses’ signatures are no longer required in electronically executed documents to be considered an enforceable title.

This is an important step in the right direction in terms of technological advancements and bureaucracy reduction in the country.

Written by Mariana Tavares and Mariana Belisario

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