Contract formation and the Internet : an analysis of contract formation in English, South African and German law with special regard to the Internet

Helmholz, Niels (2002-12)

Thesis (LLM)--University of Stellenbosch, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation examines the conclusion of contracts on the Internet in English and South African law on the one hand, and German law on the other. Because these legal systems have not developed specific rules for the formation of contracts by way of this medium of communication, the question is whether the traditional doctrines are adequate to the demands of tecnological innovation. The study accordingly proceeds from a detailed discussion of the traditional rules of offer and acceptance developed in each of the systems. To this end, the leading cases and of English and South African law are considered with an emphasis on the points of difference between the approach of the courts in these systems. Where there is uncertainty or different points of view, regard is had to the critical points of view of English and South African commentators. In respect of the codified German civil law, the authoritative provisions of the general part of the civil code are discussed against the background of the commentary of academic authors. An investigation of the technical structure of the Internet and the various methods of communication afforded by it, provides a foundation for an examination of the application of the general principles of the various legal systems to contract formation on the Internet. It is concluded that despite fundamental differences in the of approach of the systems under consideration, the general principles of each system are capable of application in the context of electronic contracting. The dissertation endeavours to develop proposals regarding adequate solutions to the problems typical of the process of contract formation on the Internet.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis is afgestem op die hantering van kontraksluiting op die Internet in die Engelse en Suid-Afrikaanse Reg aan die een kant, en die Duitse Reg aan die ander kant. Omrede geeneen van hierdie stelsels tot op hede spesifieke maatreëls daargestel het vir kontraksluiting deur middel van hierdie kommunikasiemiddel nie, is die vraag of tradisionele beginsels afdoende is met die oog op eise van die nuwe tegnologie. Die ondersoek gaan derhalwe uit van 'n behandeling van die tradisionele reëls van aanbod en aanname soos wat dit in elkeen van die stelsels ontwikkel het. Met die oog hierop, word sleutelvonnisse van die Engelse en Suid-Afrikaanse reg ontleed, veral dan ook met klem op verskille in die benadering van die howe in hierdie twee stelsels. In geval van onsekerheid en verskille van mening, word verwys na die kritiese standpunte van Engelse en Suid-Afrikaanse kommentatore. Met verwysing na die gekodifiseerde Duitse stelsel word die gesaghebbende bepalings van die Burgerlike Wetboek behandel teen die agtergrond van die kommentaar van Duitse akademiese skrywers. 'n Ontleding van die tegniese struktuur van die Internet en die verskillende kommunikasiemetodes wat dit bied, verskaf die grondslag vir 'n ondersoek na die toepaslikheid van die algemene beginsels aangaande kontraksluiting van die onderskeie regstelsels in die konteks van elektroniese kontraktering. Die gevolgtrekking is dat ten spyte van fundamentele verskille in benadering, die algemene beginsels van die verkillende stelsels wel aanwendbaar is in die nuwe omgewing. Die verhandeling poog om 'n bydrae te lewer tot die ontwikkeling van aanvaarbare oplossings tot die probleme wat tipies is aan kontraksluiting deur middel van die Internet.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52746
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