Evaluating the Impact of the Un Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts on Domestic Contract Law - The Singapore Example
Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law and Affairs, eds. Ying-jeou Ma (2010) Vol 28, 43
19 Pages Posted: 7 May 2012 Last revised: 1 Feb 2014
Date Written: November 1, 2011
This article takes a critical look at the CUECIC. It argues that contrary to the declaration made in the opening quote above, the Convention does in fact alter classic rules of contract formation and creates a separate regime for electronic transactions. Exposing some contradictions in the commentary accompanying the Convention, this article focuses on its implications for domestic contract law only. It does not aim to present a detailed one-by-one description of the Convention’s provisions or discuss its impact on the effectiveness or desirability, if any, of harmonization efforts in the area of international trade or contract law (electronic or otherwise). Assumedly, much of the critique that followed the CISG, especially regarding its uniform application, could be repeated here. The emphasis is not on how the Convention relates to other bodies of law on an international level but on how – in certain circumstances – it affects domestic contract law. It is impossible, however, to evaluate the impact of the Convention without evaluating the Convention itself. Logically, if any of its solutions or assumptions are inadequate, their impact will be disruptive rather that facilitating. The discussion commences with a brief explanation of the Convention’s goals, its scope and its underlying principles. Next, the “validation” of electronic transactions is presented alongside an evaluation of the (alleged) obstacles to e-commerce. The article proceeds with a brief critique of the harmonization efforts in the area of e-commerce and the creation of a parallel regime for electronic contracts.
Keywords: electronic contracting, UN Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts, contract law
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