This module examines the theoretical basis of the legal and regulatory framework within which online commercial transactions have to be undertaken (bearing in mind that there is much commercial activity which is, ostensibly, “free” – Facebook and Google are prime examples). It does this through the lens of legitimate authority, asking the fundamental question:
“Why should an e-commerce business accept this particular law and comply with it?"
This question arises because of the regulatory and legal difficulties involved in e-commerce as a cross-border activity. The proposition that an e-commerce business must obey all the laws of the world is, simply, both unrealistic in practice and unsustainable in theory.
The first part of the module examines jurisprudential theory in some depth, and the second part applies this theory to particular areas of e-commerce activity to explain how law and regulation there works (or, often, doesn’t work). Because e-commerce is a global activity it doesn't examine the law of one country alone, but focuses on the underlying principles for regulation, how they differ between jurisdictions, the justifications for and limits on national lawmaking, and how e-commerce businesses respond to regulation. This module uses elements of lawmaking and regulatory theory to illuminate how e-commerce regulation operates in practice.
2 x 3,000-4,000 word essays