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Unshackle ecommerce, say UK lawyers

Government warned not to stifle development with red tape

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The Law Society is warning the UK government not to strangle the development of ecommerce with red tape. Responding to the government's consultation paper, Building Confidence in Electronic Commerce, the Law Society believes that since no one can accurately predict how ecommerce will develop over the next few years it would be folly to shackle it now with the introduction of cumbersome legislation. If the government ignores this advice and proceeds with burdening ecommerce with a "rigid regulatory system" when it brings forward the Electronic Commerce Bill later this year, then it could put e-people at a distinct disadvantage. "People must be able to put their trust in ecommerce," said Michael Mathews, president of the Law Society. "If the government really wants this way of doing business to take off, they must not place unnecessary restrictions in its path," he said. He also called for e-commerce to be governed by exactly the same rules and regulations that cover ordinary business conducted on paper. "Equality with paper commerce is the only way forward," he said. ®

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