When Surfers Start to Shop: Internet Commerce and Contract Law

(1999) 19(3) Legal Studies 287-315

Posted: 30 Nov 2014

See all articles by Roger Brownsword

Roger Brownsword

King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law

Geraint Howells

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 1999

Abstract

Given that the modern law of contract is geared to the protection of reasonable expectation, is this approach capable of extension to contracting in electronic environments, particularly to mass consumer contracting via the Internet? The position taken in this paper is that the gearing of the modern law is largely appropriate. Applying such a modern approach to the provision of dedicated legal regimes for electronic commerce, the principle of ‘medium neutrality’ puts electronic environments on the same footing as traditional contracting environments; and the principles of fair dealing developed for traditional consumer marketplaces are copied across to virtual shopping sites. Whilst we contend that a revolution in the technology of contracting does not imply a revolution in contractual principles, we accept that it will not always be straightforward for the law to implement or respond to the reasonable expectations of Internet contractors (particularly so where, as is increasingly the case, contractors from radically different cultures are connected by the Internet).

Keywords: Contract law, Consumer Law, E-Commerce

Suggested Citation

Brownsword, Roger and Howells, Geraint, When Surfers Start to Shop: Internet Commerce and Contract Law (1999). (1999) 19(3) Legal Studies 287-315, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2531938

Roger Brownsword

King's College London - The Dickson Poon School of Law ( email )

Somerset House East Wing
Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

Geraint Howells (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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