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Lecture 1. Introduction to Electronic Transactions Law

Sources of Law

The common law continues to be an important source of law especially with respect to contract law, the law of defamation and privacy. However, there is a growing body of legislation that regulates electronic transactions, as listed below.

South African Legislation

  1. The Constitution, 1996
  2. The Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000
  3. Independent Communications Authority of South Africa Act, 2000
  4. Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, 2002
  5. The Regulation of Interception of Communications Act, 2002
  6. The Electronic Communications Act, 2005
  7. National Credit Act, 2005
  8. Consumer Protection Act, 2008
  9. Protection of Personal Information Bill, 2009

International Law

International law is impacts South African domestic law in 3 ways viz:

  1. International agreements and model lawsinformdomestic legislation. Theydo not have direct application until they are incorporated into domestic legislation.
  2. Customary international law is directly binding (s232 Constitution: ‘Customary international law is law in the Republic unless it is inconsistent with the Constitution or an Act of Parliament.’)
  3. Domestic law is to be interpreted with recourse to international law(s233 Constitution: ‘When interpreting any legislation, every court must prefer any reasonable interpretation of the legislation that is consistent with international law over any alternative interpretation that is inconsistent with international law.’)

Examples of relevant international law

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)

  1. Model Law on Electronic Commerce (1996, revised 1998)
  2. Model Law on Electronic Signatures (2001)
  3. United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts, 2005 (SA not a party)