Decree 23/2015 issued in February 2015 now expressly allows a district legal department to certify or authenticate signatories to a contract. A certification of signatories to a contract serves as evidence that parties to the contract has signed the contract voluntarily and have legal capacity to do so. Decree 23/2015 could potentially provide more options to authenticate contracts entered into in Vietnam.
Before Decree 23/2015, to obtain evidence that a contract has been signed, the parties must go to a notary public who must also certify the contract subject to notarisation is legal and is not contrary to social moral. Due to this requirement, it is usually difficult to obtain notarisation for complicated contracts. On the other hand, under Decree 23/2015, the parties to the contract (not the person certifying the contract) are responsible for the legality and validity of the contract. There is also a trial bailiff service which provide certified written minutes (vi bằng) to serve as evidence for use before the courts. However, this service is limited only in some major cities.