What does the UN Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts say?

Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 23rd November 2005, the Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts (the Convention) was aimed to enhance certainty and reliability when electronic communications are used in commercial contracts. The Convention contains 14 articles, and the hope was that it would provide national legislatures and businesses around the world a framework for using electronic communication in contract discussions.
The need for the Convention was clear after the explosion of email as the primary source of communication in business had presented a problem for legislators. This problem was made worse by the advent of smart phones, which further promoted email as the number one business communication medium, available to many businessmen on the move. The problem concerns multi-million dollar international contracts, which are often negotiated almost solely via email. 
The maim aims of the Convention were to address the determination of each parties location in an electronic communication transaction, the use of voicemail and messaging systems for contract formation and the time, place and dispatch of electronic messages. The Convention also aimed to establish criteria for the use of electronic and paper equivalent documents in contract negotiation. 
The provisions of the Convention are expressly excluded from any contract negotiations relating to family or household purposes, and also in contract negotiations for foreign exchange and inter-bank payments. The Convention also allows parties to contracts to exclude the provisions of the Convention if they so wish.
The Convention covers all manner of protocols relating to email messaging, including the legal status of an email with errors in, and the effect of a miscommunicated email or communication which did not reach its recipient. The Convention was welcomed by parties across the globe and was adopted by Honduras in January 2008, following Lebanon, China, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Iran, Paraguay, the Philippines, Colombia, Montenegro and the Korean Republic.
If you would like to obtain legal advice on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts, Contact Law can put you in touch with a local specialist solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local solicitors  please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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