Keywords: digital evidence, electronic lawsuits, Brazil, electronic evidence, electronic signatures, digital signatures, electronic documents, e-filing, legal documents, petitions, law courts, electronic summons
Electronic lawsuits: how do we regulate digital evidence?
Brazilian courts have been addressing the admissibility of electronic documents since the mid 1990s. On 19 December 2006, through a federal statute called Law Number 10.419 of 2006, the Brazilian Congress addressed the use of electronic documents for e-filing legal documents and petitions before courts. Under the terms of the new law, all communications with courts can be made electronically (including the issuing of electronic summons). All phases of a lawsuit can be digitally stored and most of the petitions and supporting documents can be electronically filed. Digital evidence is regulated by the new legislation in such a way that electronic documents are considered as original documents with all strength of evidence that the corresponded paper based document has. Only some documents cannot be presented in the form of exclusively digital evidence, such as the case of negotiable instruments that must be also presented in paper.