From Lord Coke to Internet Privacy: The Past, Present, and Future of the Law of Electronic Contracting
Juliet M. Moringiello
Widener University - School of Law
William L. Reynolds II
University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
March 7, 2012
Maryland Law Review, Forthcoming
Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-06
U of Maryland Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-13
Contract law is applied countless times every day, in every manner of transaction large or small. Rarely are those transactions reflected in an agreement produced by a lawyer; quite the contrary, almost all contracts are concluded by persons with no legal training and often by persons who do not have a great deal of education. In recent years, moreover, technological advances have provided novel methods of creating contracts. Those facts present practitioners of contract law with an interesting conundrum: The law must be sensible and stable if parties are to have confidence in the security of their arrangements; but contract law also must be able to handle changing social and economic circumstances, changes that occur at an ever-increasing speed. Contract law, originally designed to handle agreements reached by persons familiar with one another, evolved over time to solve the problems posed by contract formation that was done at a distance — that is, contract law had developed to handle first paper, then telegraphic, and finally telephonic communications. It has handled those changes very well.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
JEL Classification: K10Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 9, 2012 ; Last revised: May 3, 2013
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