n Journal of Law, Society and Development - The modern travelling merchant : mobile communication international contract law

Volume 2 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2313-8289



The use of mobile communication devices such as mobile phones, smartphones, tablet computers or notebooks with access to the internet has become an everyday phenomenon in today's business world. However, whenever mobile communications are used for the purposes of contract formation, that is, the mobile dispatch of offers or acceptances, the mobility of the communicating parties raises important difficulties for the application of traditional legal rules: The fact that messages transmitted via phone, email or SMS can be dispatched and received at virtually any place on earth challenges the categories of private international law and international contract law, which are based on the (unspoken) assumption that parties communicate from their home country. The existing legal framework for cross-border contracts therefore hardly takes into account the possibility that parties may move across borders, and that the place of their communications may accordingly vary. The present article addresses the legal difficulties and uncertainties that crossborder mobile communication raises under international rules of law. It elaborates on the traditional role of the site of communication in this context before scrutinising how 'mobility friendly' the provisions of the relevant conventions developed by the United Nations, the Hague Conference for Private International Law and other organisations are. In doing so, it critically discusses in particular article 10(3) of the UN Electronic Communications Convention of 2005, the most recent attempt at regulating mobile communications. Finally, it identifies a number of problems that have hitherto been overlooked (as notably the interaction of article 10(3) of the UN Electronic Communications Convention with traditional private international law rules on the formal validity of contracts) and proposes appropriate solutions.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error