The rise in popularity of online shopping has prompted a review of Scotland’s contract laws by the Scottish Law Commission. Author: Deborah Bates
The rise in popularity of online shopping has prompted a review of Scotland’s contract laws by the Scottish Law Commission.
This is because it must correctly reflect “modern technology” to ensure all consumers and retailers are well-protected. Currently, the country’s contract law is based upon paper contracts or those made orally, like those made in bricks and mortar shops.
However, the commission has now raised the question – are contracts of this type made online binding? The commission believes electronic contracts must have the “same weight” as paper contracts, which they may not currently. In order to tackle this, a discussion paper has been launched. Professor Hector MacQueen, the lead commissioner, gave his thoughts on the move.
“With the rise in new technology it is high time that our law on how contracts are formed is reviewed and updated,” he said, cited by Scotlawcom.gov.uk. “Our proposals would lead to a clear and modern law in line with developments in technology and its usage.
“We think that the innovations would be particularly attractive for commercial parties, for whom the proposals offer word-class levels of certainty and convenience.”
If the law is changed, it would mean those offering purchases via online payment services and those utilising them would be better protected against any legal disputes.
BBC News suggested that many Britons aren’t aware they are launching into a legally-binding contract when buying things either in a store or via an online retailer; implying that if they aren’t even aware of this, they may have no knowledge of their legal rights, either.