Solving the myth of jurisdiction in the virtual world

Orji, Peter (2012) Solving the myth of jurisdiction in the virtual world. In: 27th Annual British and Irish Law Education and Technology Association (BILETA) Conference 2012: 'Too many laws, too few examples': Regulation, technology, law & legal education; 29-30 Mar 2012, Newcastle, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Jurisdiction is the aspect of e-commerce transactions that poses the greatest of concerns to individuals and business organisations. Parties to contracts are often concerned about a number of issues here – what local laws will protect their interests in the event of a dispute? Which court will be a competent adjudicating body for dispute resolution? What are the rules regarding the place of formation of a contract in relation to determining applicable laws for any dispute? Where are the contracting parties located? With which jurisdiction does the contract have significant connection? These are crucial questions especially as e-commerce is often premised on its extra-territorial nature. This paper will examine the claim of e-commerce to being extra-territorial as well as a re-examination of the view whether there is indeed a there in e-commerce. These are with a view to understanding existing theories of jurisdiction and how these theories are embracing trends introduced by e-commerce as opposed to traditional contract or brick and mortar commercial transactions. The paper also undertakes a discourse on the implications of jurisdictional considerations to policies on consumer protection in online trading. Essentially this paper answers the question whether the traditional approach to resolving jurisdictional issues in contract is applicable to online business both in the resulting effect for consumers and promotion of business interests for businesses.

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