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Title: Traditional contract law in the electronic environment : evolution or revolution?
Author: Qutieshat, Enas M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 8379
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis will examine issues related to the formation and validity of electronic contracts on a comparative basis between the English, American and UNCITRAL approaches.  When examining the English approach, reference will be made to relevant EC Directives in relation to the subject matter. This thesis has four main objectives.  First, to assess the impact of using electronic communication tools to reach agreement.  Second, to identify some key points that should be considered when examining the formal validity of electronic contracts. Third, to establish a foundation for having a valid contract in which rights and obligations could arise accordingly.  Finally, this thesis aims to identify whether the traditional contract law rules are able to meet the challenges that are brought by the use of electronic communication tools, or whether they require reform. It will be noticed throughout that electronic contracts come in different types.  This leads to difficulty with introducing one rule to cover all types of electronic contracts. Furthermore, some concerns arise when electronic communication tools are used to form contracts as to the exact time of contracting. Other concerns arise when trying to fulfil some legal formalities such as writing and signature.  This is because of the special and dual nature of electronic data and the possibility of using different types of signature methods in cyberspace. Finally, it is important to consider taking steps to update some of the current contract law rules to work alongside the electronic technology revolution.  Some aspects of the traditional contract law rules become challenging when applied to electronic contracts.  For example, the issues of contract formation and the use of electronic and intelligent software require direct attention when considering the issue of e-contracts.  The reference to such challenging well-established contract law rules is necessary throughout this thesis, however, since the current rules which deal with electronic commerce in general and electronic contracts in particular do not cover all the issues that are related to electronic contracts.  Lastly, this thesis will sound the alarm on the need to raise the legal awareness of both online users and website developers when contracting online. Chapter Two will assess the use of electronic communication tools to form such contracts, and the sorts of problems that could arise as a consequence. Chapter Three will highlight whether or not electronic contracts can be considered written and signed when the law imposes such requirement.  This chapter will also seek to determine whether there is a need for such formalities in cyberspace. Chapter Four is designed to deal with selected issues of material validity of electronic contracts.  This chapter is essential when considering all types of electronic contracts, including formal ones.  It will consider issues that are related to mutual assent in cyberspace, and the problems that could arise with web-based contracts in relation to these.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Contracts ; Commercial law ; Computer networks ; Internet ; Electronic commerce