YEAR 2020 No 3

ISSN 2182-9845

General regime for electronic acts - a forgotten regime

Pedro Dias Venâncio


proof; digital; document; signature; communications; electronics.


In addition to the digitization of physical evidence associated with the modernization of the mechanisms of the digitalized civil process, the future of Justice is closely linked to digital proof: the use of originally electronic documents to prove contracts and other legally relevant acts.
The proliferation of electronic communications (replacing postal mail, fax communications and even telephone), in its multiple forms (electronic mail, instant messages, and the multiple public and private communications services provided by social networks), as well as the expansion of electronic commerce, and in particular the generalization of electronic contracting, has been increasing exponentially the use of electronic means for the practice of legal acts. 
Digital proof assumes a central role in civil law, both from a substantive and an adjective perspective. The regime of validity and probative value of documents, signatures and electronic communications enshrined in Decree-Law No. 290-D/99, of 2 August, represents a general regime for civil law of paramount importance in the Information Society.
Unfortunately, the Portuguese legislator has repeatedly approved exceptional rules in individual diplomas, contradicting or ignoring the existence of this general regime.

Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. The electronic document
3. Electronic authorship
4. Evidence of electronic documents
5. Electronic communications
6. A forgotten regime
7. Conclusion