The Argentine Court of Appeals in Commercial Matters acknowledged emails’ validity as evidence even when they do not meet the requirements set forth in the Digital Signature Law

Recently, Division D of the Argentine Court of Appeals in Commercial Matters acknowledged that email communications can be valid evidence even when they do not meet the requirements of section 2 and 5 of Digital Signature Law No. 25,506 (Argentine Court of Appeals in Commercial Matters, Division D, “Skillmedia S.R.L. v. Estudio ML S.A.”, November 7, 2017).

The case is as follows: Skillmedia SRL (“Skillmedia”) was hired by defendant Estudio ML S.A. (“Estudio ML”) in 2011 to provide a messaging service based on  certain software. In 2014, the defendant started to breach its payment obligations.

 Skillmedia argued that it had maintained email and telephone communications with Estudio ML in order to request payment of the services. Estudio ML denied the existence of any such communications.

The Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision which admitted the claim. An expert witness appointed by the court proved with reasonable certainty the existence of communications in which the defendant acknowledged the debt and also stated that the lack of payment was due to internal issues of the company.

The Court of Appeals stated that, despite the general rule that email communications which do not meet the requirements of the Digital Signature Law do not have the evidentiary value contemplated by this law, which provides for an assumption of authorship and integrity, they may nonetheless be valid as evidence if their content appears to be true, based on the rest of the evidence of the case.

That is to say, even when emails are not digitally signed, they may still prove disputed facts if they appear to be genuine, based on the rest of the evidence.