Electronic Contract Formation
Ability to form contract online is a fundamental requirement to the growth of E-commerce on the Internet. It is thus important to ensure that online contract is legally enforceable so that Internet users (consumers and businesses alike) are confident about the applicability of their e-commerce contractual arrangements.
Electronic Contracting in the EU and EEA: Formation and validity of electronic contracts
The objective of this project is to analyze legal issues relating to formation of electronic contract. The main focus on this research is standard model of contract formation procedure by exchanging offer and acceptance messages.
This research is a continuation and deepening of research work on ‘Electronic Contract Formation – Analysing Article 11 E-commerce Directive and Its Implementation in England, Italy and Norway’, commenced in the Norwegian Research Centre for Computers and Law (NRCCL) as part of the requirements of master degree in Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the Faculty of Law University of Oslo.
Background and Specific Issues
Ability to form contract online is a fundamental requirement to the growth of E-commerce on the Internet. It is thus important to ensure that online contract is legally enforceable so that Internet users (consumers and businesses alike) are confident about the applicability of their e-commerce contractual arrangements. Many scholars have suggested that the principles of contract law should apply ‘as is’ in the offline as well as online environment. However, the special and specific nature of the online environment makes it necessary to interpret in details the ‘when’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ elements of the regulations on the offline contract formation when it is transformed and/or applied to contracts concluded electronically. This project will research on when electronic offer and electronic acceptance, which are the central pillars in determining the existence of an agreement, are effective. In relation thereto, selected electronic contracting models and different stages of electronic contract formation will be elaborated and examined in lights of general rules and principles of contract law. Philosophical and legal ideas behind the implementation and transformation of offline contract formation rules into online contract formation rules will be examined to demonstrate whether or not such rules are effective. Furthermore, discussions on rules and logic of relevant regulatory frameworks will bring to light some critical issues and features essential to observe when doing online business as well as validating electronic contract.
Other important legal issues to be considered in this project include: intention to create legal relation, pre-contractual duties, information requirements in e-commerce, legal qualification of electronic messages and electronic communication.