Legislative Amendments To Facilitate Electronic Statutory Declarations, Oaths And Affirmations, And Notarisations
3 July 2023 Posted in Press releases
- MinLaw has introduced two Bills 1 in Parliament to provide individuals and businesses in Singapore the option to make statutory declarations (“SDs”), oaths and affirmations (“OAs”), and to notarise documents through remote means. This is in line with the Government’s ongoing efforts to facilitate electronic transactions, so as to bring greater convenience and efficiency for individuals and businesses in Singapore.
Background and Overview
- SDs and OAs have to be made, and documents notarised, before authorised service providers such as a Commissioner for Oaths or Notary Public. An in-person meeting between the client and authorised service provider is generally required. The process is often paper-based, and wet ink signatures are generally used.2
- With improved technology, it has become possible for SDs and OAs to be made and documents to be notarised through electronic means, while still maintaining a high degree of security against fraud. The Bills propose a framework that enables these activities to be carried out, through electronic means in accordance with requirements designed to safeguard the integrity of the process.
- The legislative framework has two key features:
a. Electronic meetings: Clients who need to make a SD or OA, or notarise documents, may appear before an authorised service provider using video conferencing platforms, or other electronic means that meet certain minimum requirements. 3
b. Electronic signing: Signature requirements can be satisfied electronically. In order to enhance the reliability of the electronic document and safeguard against fraud, the framework will require that specified modes of electronic signatures must be used in certain circumstances. These requirements will be set out in subsidiary legislation.4
- Existing in-person and paper-based processes remain available.
Other Technical and Clarificatory Amendments
- The Bills will also amend the Constitution and other laws to expressly state the law as it stands today, that oaths of office and citizenship oaths may be taken through electronic means, such as live video link.
- The Government will work closely with stakeholders to implement the framework in a way that provides convenience for individuals and businesses, while safeguarding against fraud.
MINISTRY OF LAW
3 July 2023
1. The Oaths, Declarations and Notarisations (Remote Methods) Bill, and the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment No. 2) Bill. The two Bills include amendments to the Constitution, the Oaths and Declarations Act 2000, the Notaries Public Act 1959, and other relevant legislation.↩
2. However, there is usually no legal requirement to use wet-ink signatures.↩
3. The electronic means that are adopted must enable the authorised service provider to: (1) communicate with the client throughout the process; (2) confirm the identity of the client; and (3) if the document is to be signed, verify by inspection the document to be signed. Clients and service providers must also comply with the requirements set out in subsidiary legislation. Statutory declarations that have been made or notarisations that were carried out through live video link or live television link (e.g., during the Covid-19 pandemic) will remain valid.↩
4. Where such requirements are not provided for, electronic signatures will continue to be recognised pursuant to the Electronic Transactions Act.↩
Last updated on 3 July 2023