Euro MP acts to resolve e-trade law confusion

MEP Diana Wallis has triggered a move to involve industry, lawyers and academics in harmonising the often conflicting and...

MEP Diana Wallis has triggered a move to involve industry, lawyers and academics in harmonising the often conflicting and contradictory EU and UK laws and regulations which threaten to stifle e-business in Europe.

Will Roebuck, founder of the E-Business Regulatory Alliance, hailed as "revolutionary", plans outlined by Wallis, the main sponsor of the E-Commerce Directive currently going through Euro legislation, to set up a central European Law Commission.

"The conflict of laws over which jurisdiction applies will get addressed by real industry experts working with legal experts, and not just by academic lawyers in the European Commission," he said.

Roebuck said the main areas of confusion in e-business regulation include: privacy; defamation; product liability; impact of environmental damage for suppliers; and lack of clarity in cross-border e-trade disputes as to whether the legislation of the country of origin or country of destination should apply.

The European Commission has been working to resolve contractual, and data ownership issues surrounding the internet through the Rome 2 series of discussions, conducted through a myriad of sub-committees. But the Rome 2 discussions have now been shelved until after the European elections later this year, leaving the process ripe for a faster pace and new stimulus.

"The EC is introducing Rome 2 to tidy up academically-oriented laws for online business, but there are so many problems in the online world that a sensible approach needs to be taken, with all the stakeholders working together," said Roebuck.
This was last published in May 2004

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