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The University of Southampton

LAWS6094 e-Commerce Law

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of the e-Commerce Law module are to provide you with: - understanding of the key legal issues which underpin the development of e-Commerce i.e. contracting at a distance - appreciation of the essential differences between online and offline trading that requires a legal response - an opportunity to develop skills of analysis and synthesis of a wide range of online legal and primary resources, including official publications, EU directives and international studies

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the key features of e-Commerce legislation and policy
  • the legal or other mechanisms which might be used to regulate and tax transactions conducted electronically and to resolve disputes
  • the main forms of computer related conduct which may come to the attention of the criminal law and the means to adduce evidence against the perpetrators
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • participate in policy discussions regarding future legal developments in the field
  • exercise enhanced skills in the fields of online research and academic writing in law
  • offer informal advice on legal issues associated with the module’s contents
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • construct arguments clearly and coherently in writing and via email discussion
  • assess the importance, necessity and impact of policies designed to respond to the regulatory challenges of e-Commerce
  • think critically, develop coherent arguments by way of research and in writing, communicate those arguments both online and in written assignments and defend your arguments following feedback


This module focuses on contractual issues in e-Commerce i.e. contracts entered into at a distance; e-Security i.e. authentication of transactions; e-Tax i.e. assessment and collection of taxes for such transactions; and e-Disputes i.e. mechanisms for judicial and non-judicial resolution of disputes. Theme 1 E Contracting The core of e-commerce law must relate to actual transactions ‘conducted’ electronically; though there are a variety of ways in which electronic means can be employed in transacting: use of electronic means as a form of advertising or catalogue only; contracts made on-line, whether by exchange of e-mail correspondence or through a website; and full on-line performance and delivery. In this ‘theme’ we look at contractual issues: pre-entry; formation of the contract; and terms and conditions. Theme 2 E-Security The Internet is as prey to fraud as any other method of commerce. Additionally, e-commerce raises other security considerations: identification of parties, authentication of the records of a transaction, and authentication of security of communications from interference. Theme 3 E-Tax As the scale of Internet usage and of electronic commerce grows, so attention is paid to tax implications. The global nature of electronic commerce complicates (at least potentially) the assessment and collection of taxes. The question arises where a business is to be regarded as established for fiscal purposes. Theme 4 E-Disputes With E-commerce, it is common for transactions to take place across national borders. This theme considers what mechanisms exist allowing for the judicial and non-judicial resolution of disputes arising from an e-commerce transaction.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Students will be presented with a set of weekly podcasts which will serve both as an overview of the topics to be studied and provide guidance as to the direction of students’ own reading and research activities. The podcasts will be supplemented by written notes and links to further electronic resources. Participation in online discussion forums is a key component of the course. These will be both tutor led and open for more general, student led discussion. Assessment will be on the basis of 4 written assignments submitted during the module and an end of module essay.

Independent Study270
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Background Report on Empowering E-Consumers: Strengthening Consumer Protection in the Internet Economy.

United Nations Convention on the Use of Electonic Communications in International Contracts.

Guidelines for Consumer Protection in the Context of Electronic Commerce OECD.

Lloyd, I. (2008). Information Technology Law. 

E-Commerce: Policy Development and Co-ordination in the EU. House of Lords European Union Committee Electronic Commerce OECD.



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  ( words) 60%
Reflective report  ( words) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  ( words) 60%
Reflective report  (1250 words) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  ( words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the core/recommended text as appropriate.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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