From Lord Coke to Internet Privacy: The Past, Present, and Future of the Law of Electronic Contracting
Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-06
50 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2012 Last revised: 22 Jul 2015
Date Written: January 1, 2013
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.
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation