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Title: The evolution of a regulatory framework for e-commerce formation : metamorphosis of traditional contract principles
Author: Orji, Peter
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 0604
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2012
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This research, entitled The Evolution of a Regulatory Framework for E-commerce: Metamorphosis of Traditional Contract Principles, is set against the background of the general question whether there is the need for a whole new legal structure for contract formation in the on line environment, or if the existing traditional laws of contract are sufficient by adapting the current provisions to cyber space. In the first chapter, the research examines the context of e-contract, laying a foundation for the analysis of the legal framework through which electronic business transactions are conducted. The research covers matters such as the rudimentary use of the prefix e as an attempt to translate commerce from its traditional form to its cyber-based equivalent. This chapter also explores a description of the technological infrastructure for various avenues of e-commerce. Chapter Two provides a functional definition of the law of e-commerce. From the proposal that the virtual world is completely devoid of law to the view that it is too strictly regulated, this chapter examines whether or not there can be a legal mechanism for governing businesses online - as distinct from the general law of contract - what that mechanism might be, and the efficacy of any such law. In Chapter Three a model of a virtual contract formed by the use of electronic media is examined. This model of contract formation is aided by importing the rules of traditional contract into the virtual shop. The contract rules are tested for relevance and applicability in the online environment. Chapter Four deals with a crucial feature of many online contracts: 'standard forms'. It answers the question whether there is anything significantly different from the day-to-day standard form paper contracts when these contracts are formed and/or executed online. In Chapter Five the concept of a separate legal personality for automated agents is discussed. There is an analogous review of the creation of personality from other non-human v legal persons. Signature and other authenticating means as key to contract formation, though not necessarily ingredients for determining validity, are discussed. In Chapter Six the research explores the relevance and increased use of authentication features like pin numbers, biometrics and e-signatures, particularly the legal aspects of electronic signatures (statutory requirements, practical problems with their use, and case law response to the use of electronic signatures). Finally the work turns to the core issues surrounding complex e-commerce transactions: choosing a forum for the adjudication of disputes. The work, while dealing with keys aspects of contract, moves from the traditional contract form to contracts in the virtual environment, and questions the applicability of the existing law, then proposes an approach specific to the uniqueness of the online market.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available