'Updating' the Electronic Transactions Act? -- Australia's Accession to the Un Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts 2005
Journal of Contract Law (2010) vol 26 (2)
18 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2012
Date Written: May 2009
This article discusses the Australian Government's proposal to accede to the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts as well as certain amendments to existing Australian electronic transactions legislation, that is, the Electronic Transactions Act (Commonwealth) 1999 (ETA) and its state equivalents. Without going into a detailed discussion of all suggested amendments, this article focuses on those recommendations, which affect the area of contract formation, in particular: the use of automated systems in online transactions and the determination of the time the contract comes into existence. A critical review of the proposed changes reveals that their implementation will result in the creation of a parallel regime for contracts formed by electronic means and create fur- ther legal uncertainties in the field of Internet-based commerce. This result stands in stark opposition to the original goal of the ETA: to facilitate and enable online transactions.
Keywords: electronic contracting, UNCITRAL Convention on Electronic Contracting, ETA
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