Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Distance Learning

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Other Private study on DL units; Preparation and submission of written assignment; Additional research and private study


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Module Assessment  Written Assignment of 5,000 words  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Display a knowledge and understanding of the legal and policy issues raised by commercial activity conducted in the electronic environment.

Display a knowledge and understanding of the nature of the electronic environment, its 'unique' qualities and the associated implications for the regulation of commercial activity, including identification, authentication and cross-border issues.

Critically evaluate the different regulatory approaches and their application to electronic commerce activity.

Display an ability to gain access to the relevant literature and materials in this field and how to use them in critical discussion of the issues covered by this subject.

Present critical and well-informed argument regarding the problems of achieving an effective balance between the pursuit of regulatory control without harming the uptake of electronic commerce activity.

Brief description

This module will provide an introduction to the background and context to commercial activity in the electronic environment and its regulation. It will broadly introduce the key ‘players’ in policy development and common principles and concepts identified by them, including: functional equivalence, medium neutrality and non-discrimination. The module then examines the divergent approaches to the regulation of economic activity, from state to self regulation and considers the relative merits of each approach. The legal significance of identification and authentication in the electronic commerce context are examined in depth with analysis of electronic signatures and associated regulation. The final topic of this module introduces the student to the issues raised by the cross-border nature of electronic commerce and associated treaties, regulation and legal principles.


1. Key background and policy issues associated with the regulation of electronic commerce and the main bodies under discussion in the module (UK, EU, UN and US).
2. The legal and practical context of “The Electronic Environment”. Examination of the aspects of online commercial activity which raise or may raise significant legal and policy considerations.
3. Regulatory Approaches. International, Regional or State Regulation; Self Regulation and Code.
4. The Importance and legal significance of identification and authentication in the electronic environment.
5. Cross-Border Issues (Jurisdiction and Choice of Law).


This module is at CQFW Level 7