Contributor: Raful Sicard Polanco & Fernández
Author: María Esther Fernández A. De Pou, María Fernanda Pou Fernández, María Gabriela Pou Fernández (External Collaborator)
1. Is there specific legislation in Dominican Republic ruling the using of documents (such as Leases, Security Agreements, Mortgages, Lease Assignments, Novation and IDERAs) executed with the use of digital platforms or any electronic signatures by the local Aviation Authority?
2. If your answer to (1) is yes, is there any specific requirement for the validity of such signatures, such as completion with a specific cryptographic platform developed by any local institute of technology?
3. Does the Aviation Authority in Dominican Republic use an electronic register for Aircraft Documents or Aircraft Lease Documents (including Leases, Security Agreements, Mortgages, Lease Assignments, Novation and IDERAs)?
4. If your reply to question 3 is yes, is it possible to upload electronic files for registration, such as Leases, Security Agreements, Mortgages, Lease Assignments, Novation and IDERAs with the Aviation Authority in Dominican Republic?
5. Do the courts of Dominican Republic consider valid and enforceable documents executed by the use of some type of digital signature or certification even if not registered (or registrable) with the local Aviation Authority?
Documents with digital signatures or certifications are admissible (valid and enforceable); they are considered to have the same probative value as traditional documents. Our domestic legislation recognises this probative value in Article 9 of Law No. 126-02 on Electronic Commerce, Documents and Digital Signatures, transcribed verbatim as follows:
“Article 9.- Admissibility and probative force of digital documents and data messages. Digital documents and data messages shall be admissible as means of evidence and shall have the same probative force granted to acts under private signature in the Civil Code and the Code of Civil Procedure.
Paragraph. In administrative or judicial proceedings, no information in the form of a digital document or data message shall be denied effectiveness, validity or binding and probative force solely on the grounds that it is a digital document or data message or on the grounds that it has not been submitted in its original form” (Emphasis added).
In general, however, this validity is subject to certain registration and certification processes.
6. Is it possible to upload lawsuits, pleadings, and procedural documents electronically in Dominican Republic?
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Judicial Council of the Judiciary issued a series of rules, especially Resolutions Nos. 006-2020 and 007-2020, recognising the application of virtuality in judicial proceedings, at which time the platform called “Judicial Service of the Judiciary” was created, allowing the virtual uploading of any document (claims, pleadings and procedural documents) necessary in the framework of a judicial process.
However, on September 14, 2021, the Ruling No. TC/0286/21, issued by the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic declared unconstitutional the aforementioned Resolutions, on the basis that these repealed rules should be established through a legislative process, not as a jurisdictional matter.
Consequently, on July 29, 2022, Law No. 339-22 was enacted, which enables and regulates the use of digital media for judicial processes and administrative procedures of the Judiciary, a legal provision that expressly states in its Article 7, textually as follows:
“Article 7.- Judicial portal. The Judicial Branch shall make available to users a judicial portal that will allow them to optionally make requests, submit matters and provide access to all information related to processes, procedures, public rulings, hearing roles and receive all types of documents of a public nature, without the need to travel in person to the jurisdictional bodies or administrative units of the Judicial Branch, in accordance with the regulations approved by the Plenary of the Supreme Court of Justice, upon payment of the corresponding fees or taxes established by law, when applicable.”
Nevertheless, it is important to note that while the legislation that creates the judicial portal is in full effect and the website exists, the process by which the public is going to be able to upload these lawsuits, pleading and procedural documents is still being implemented by the corresponding authority.
7. Do the courts of Dominican Republic accept procedural documents executed digitally? Is there any specific certification required? Does Dominican Republic make any distinction between official digital signatures and private digital signatures?
To date, the ordinary courts only accept electronically executed documents in criminal matters (certain restrictions are applied). Nonetheless, the Dominican Republic is actively making efforts to implement processes that aim to accept digitally executed documentation at a general level in the judicial system, given that these documents comply with the existing legal mandates mentioned above.
8. Are there any formal requirements for the validity of documents executed by digital signatures? Ex.: Does the consent of the parties to digital signatures have to be expressly referred to in the agreement?
According to Article 35 of Law No. 126-02 on Electronic Commerce, Documents and Digital Signatures, for documents executed by digital signature to be valid in the Dominican Republic, they must be certified by an institution duly registered and authorised by the Dominican Telecommunications Institute (INDOTEL).
In other words, only those signatures that are registered under the entities authorised by INDOTEL are generally valid in the Dominican Republic.
9. Can foreign entities not located in Dominican Republic execute Lease Agreements or any Finance Documents with digital signatures to be filed for registration with the Aviation Authority in Dominican Republic? Are there any other formalities required?
All of these documents must be physically signed. If signed abroad, they must be legalized and apostilled for them to be valid in the Dominican Republic. If the country in which the document is being signed is not part of the Hague Agreement, then that jurisdiction’s apostille equivalent must be presented.
10. Does the Aviation Industry in Dominican Republic usually use digital tools such as blockchain technology for the purpose of control of Aircraft Documents in substitution of printed paper Aircraft Documents?
No. However, there are projects being made for these purposes.
11. Are there any Notary or Apostille requirements in Dominican Republic? If so, do they apply to electronically executed documents, and how does this affect the possibility of electronic execution and delivery of aviation documents?
As previously established, all the documentation signed abroad has to be legalized and apostilled for it to be valid in the Dominican Republic. If the country in which the document is being signed is not part of the Hague Agreement, then that jurisdiction’s apostille equivalent must be presented.
Notwithstanding the above, these Notary and Apostille requirements do not particularly affect the possibility of electronic execution and delivery of aviation documents in the country, provided that, to date, the Dominican Republic does not accept electronically executed documents in aviation matters.
a. Has the Dominican Republic implemented the e-Apostille program?