Integrity Legal

28th August 2010

The spread of Ecommerce is one of the major business trends of the past 15 years. As the internet and world wide web have become ubiquitous throughout the world the international economy has seen an overall increase in sales of goods and services over the internet. Communications technology has allowed online businesses, big and small, the opportunity to deal with customers directly. However, many once settled legal issues are the topic of much discussion in legal circles as the multi-jurisdictional nature of the world wide web has completely changed the landscape of international trade and commerce.

An example of the legal paradigm shift in contract law can be seen in the drafting of so-called “Terms of Service” Agreements or TOS agreements. These types of agreements are becoming increasingly common as more social and business interaction occurs online. TOS agreements generally stipulate the type of services that will be provided by a website, or network of websites. Furthermore, the TOS agreement usally stipulates what type of conduct will be permitted on a given platform and the type of conduct which may give rise to a termination of services. Some in the legal community feel that usage of Terms of Service Agreements (TOS Agreements) is likely to increase in the foreseeable future. However, the increased usage of such agreements is likely to occur in countries which may not use English as a primary language. This is particularly the case in emerging markets where the language of courts and tribunals is not necessarily English. This will likely lead to an increasing demand for legal professionals from non-English speaking countries to assist in the drafting of TOS agreements. How non-English speaking courts view these types of agreements remains to be seen in some jurisdictions, but this author has little doubt that drafting of TOS agreements will be increasingly necessary as global ecommerce increases in markets such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, India, China, Africa, Brazil, Greater South America, and Oceania.

Transactional Law is a key component of ecommerce as usage of credit cards and other online financial instruments has increased exponentially with the spread of the world wide web. As established payment platforms grow and new payment platforms come into existence, the role of legal professionals will change dramatically as lawyers and attorneys are likely to be sought to assist in both the structuring of online payment platforms and drafting of documents ancillary to online payment for goods and services. Specialized legal counsel may be necessary for e-businesses, depending upon the structure of a given online enterprise and its payment platform.

As the needs of international business evolves so too will the services provided by legal professionals. As the internet creates new opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs, lawyers and attorneys will likely be providing ever more innovative legal solutions for Ecommerce business owners, managers, and professionals.

For related information about the rise of outsourced legal processing services please see: Legal Process Outsourcing.


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