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Law, jurisdiction and the digital nomad1 Overview
Free movement is a central notion of the European community, and the Internet provides the capability for individuals to live a locationless existence, running their businesses and providing services from wherever they happen to be. However, whilst cyberspace may be without borders, the laws of physical countries still apply; and, for digital nomads, determining which laws apply, and which courts have jurisdiction, is no easy task.
Four fundamental problems exist with the current regime: determining when someone is dealing as a consumer, such that consumer-specific measures take effect; determining the place of performance of a service, for working out the relevant jurisdiction; the ongoing possibility of being sued in one’s domicile, determined by a geographically focussed legal construct without any bearing on a party’s actual life and links; and the problems of determining to which country a contract performed across multiple states is more closely connected.
This article considers each of these problems in turn, exploring some of the complexities in solving the underlying issues where parties to a contract may be highly mobile and effectively stateless, and examines very briefly the issue of online dispute resolution as an alternative approach.
1 eCommerce: theme 4 Neil Brown (01137115) 1
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