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Changes to the electronic transaction laws

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In May this year the government agreed to implement uniform electronic transactions legislation to modernise our laws and bring Australia into line with internationally recognised standards. As a result, over the next 12 months, it is anticipate that all of our States and Territories will amend their relevant legislation to reflect the Model Electronic Transactions Amendment Bill 2010 that will be enacted. These provisions will be in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts 2005.

The new rules will provide more certainty regarding the formation of contracts over an electronic medium and will apply to both domestic and international transactions. Some of the issues the new laws will address and clarify include:

  • the use of automated message systems for contract formation
  • determining a party’s location
  • the timing and place of dispatch and receipt of electronic communications

As a result of these proposed changes businesses may need to review the manner in which they conduct their affairs online. This would include any standard online contracts they currently use as well as any other electronic dealings where a binding agreement is expected.

If you would like further advice on issues relating to you business and the use of electronic transactions, please contact one of our Corporate Advisory lawyers.

Author: Richard Lim & Darren Sommers