Contract Formation in an Internet Age

Rawls, Amelia

Should the "mailbox" doctrine of contract acceptances be applied in technological contexts far beyond the nineteenth century context for which it was established? Among modern contracting parties, the e-mail inbox has largely replaced the postal mailbox and the near-instantaneous process of electronic communication can mimic the characteristics of a face-to-face discussion. Such technological advancements of the late-twentieth and twenty-first centuries pose a challenge to the doctrinal and normative rationales articulated by the Adams v. Lindsell court and other early "mailbox" rule advocates. Moreover, the advent of electronic communication has implications even for application of the "mailbox" precedent within the framework of postal and other traditional communication systems. Only a receipt-based contracting precedent, applied to technologies both new and old, can properly enhance inter-jurisdictional legal uniformity and incentivize efficient contracting behavior.



  • thumnail for demo title for ac:111338 demo title for ac:111338 application/octet-stream 393 KB Download File

Also Published In

Columbia Law School Science and Technology Law Review

More About This Work

Academic Units
Published Here
August 26, 2009