An analysis of jurisdiction rules for electronic consumer contracts : United Kingdom, United States and global perspectives
The purpose of this thesis is to examine European and United States jurisdiction rules for consumer contracts where the consumer and the seller who contract with each other over the Internet via the World Wide Web are in different jurisdictions. The thesis will demonstrate that despite recent adaptation in both jurisdictions, existing rules are not conducive to consumer contracts entered into by means of electronic commerce (hereafter electronic consumer contracts). This thesis will argue that both United Kingdom and United States jurisdiction rules for such contracts should be further amended and harmonised to enable consumers to sue in their own jurisdiction when foreign businesses intended to target them via active or interactive web sites. The aim of international private law is premised on a "desire to do justice" to the parties involved in a cross-border dispute. Chapter One will demonstrate that this aim is particularly significant with regard to the role of international private law vis-a`-vis the legal regulation of cross-border electronic consumer contract disputes. When a consumer contract is entered into between parties across borders by electronic means and a dispute arises between those parties, the effective application of a certain and predictable jurisdiction rule to determine which jurisdiction will hear the dispute is crucial. Subsequent chapters of this thesis will demonstrate that given the continued inconsistencies in existing jurisdiction rules in the United Kingdom and the United States, further adaptation and harmonisation of jurisdiction rules for electronic consumer contracts is now both necessary and desirable.