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date: 12 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Many aspects of contract law, developed before the age of computer technology, require re-evaluation in the twenty-first century. The following matters will be considered: the postal acceptance rule in the digital age; e-mail messages, in particular whether a name or initial typed in the message constitutes a 'signature' for all purposes, and whether the sender's name in the address does so; clicking on a box on a computer screen as manifestation of assent, and whether it satisfies express statutory or contractual requirements of 'signature'; sealed instruments in the computer age; use of a website as manifestation of assent ('browse-wrap' so-called); and, more generally, problems of standard form contracts, consumer protection, and unfair terms, exacerbated (I would argue), though not originated, by computer technology. Illustrations are drawn both from English and from Canadian law.

Keywords: contract law, standard form, boilerplate, unconscionability, electronic contracts, consumer protection

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