paper-based environment, where a message can be considered to be received even if it is not intelligible for the addressee. [7.700] However, the ETA and the Model Law do not specify that the mere receipt of information is acceptance for the purpose of contract formation. It remains to be seen if this is how these provisions will be judicially interpreted. [7.710] The ETA also specifies where an electronic message is sent and received (s 14B). Unless otherwise agreed the electronic communication is taken to have been dispatched at the place where the originator has its place of business and the electronic communication is taken to have been received at the place where the addressee has its place of business. In addressing this issue the ETA gives legislative recognition to the uniqueness of computerised transmissions as a mode of communication. For instance, an electronic message may be received anywhere in the world, regardless of the location of the server to which it was sent. Contrast this with “snail mail” which can only be received in one place. Accordingly, the ETA deems the “place” of dispatch and receipt to be the place where the dispatcher/recipient “has its place of business” (see s 14B(2) – 14B(4)). This deeming of “place” of dispatch/receipt achieves a number of objectives: In the age of e-commerce, distance and physical borders mean very little. Ball E, “Section 92 and the Regulation of e-Commerce: A casenote on Betfair Pty Ltd v Western Australia” (2008) 36(2) Federal Law Review 265 at 265. Business and the Law 366 Andrew, Terry, and Giugni Des. Business & the Law, Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia Pty Limited, 2016. ProQuest Ebook Central, . Created from wsudt on 2018-04-11 16:36:49. Copyright © 2016. Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia Pty Limited. All rights reserved.
• It provides for a more meaningful connection between the transaction, place and the dispatcher/recipient than merely the location of the information system used to relay the message. • It enables communicators to use publicly available information (eg general business guides, address services) to determine the location of the dispatcher/recipient where locating an information system may be impossible. • It ensures certainty on the question of “where” a communication was sent/received. • It recognises the legal and practical uniqueness of transacting via computerised transmissions by addressing technology-specific issues. Email [7.720] A contract may arise by email just as it might if parties are conducting negotiations by any other form of communication; for example, a job offer may be made by email and accepted in the same way. Or, as another example, a company might accept orders for the purchase of goods via an email address. There are many other scenarios in which a contract may be formed by email. But at issue is: Exactly where and when is that contract formed?
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