Skip to main content Skip to navigation

JILT 1999 (1) - John Dickie


M Chissick and A Kelman

Electronic Commerce: Law and Practice

Sweet and Maxwell (1999) GBP 125.00
257pp ISBN 0-7520-06-9

Reviewed by
John Dickie
School of Law
University of Warwick

Electronic Commerce is written by Michael Chissick of London solicitors Field Fisher Waterhouse (with two other lawyers contributing a chapter each) and Alistair Kelman of Lancaster Buildings and the London School of Economics. The focus is on English law, although other law is considered, including the United States and the European Union.

Although the book is aimed at the professional market, it does not simply exposit the law, but contains a considerable amount of discussion and comparative material. As an academic, this reviewer found that discussion and comparative material particularly valuable and hopes that it will be expanded in future editions. In parts this expansion is clearly needed (e.g. at 8.15 there is an unsourced reference to a quantified loss of business by toy manufacturers after a TV advertising ban by Greece). A bibliography or further reading section would have been helpful to the reader interested in pursuing particular topics further. Hypothetical examples are usefully given to elucidate difficult legal constructs. This reviewer would also liked to have seen more material on the increasingly important role of the European Union in regulating electronic commerce, but that is unsurprising given that this reviewer is writing a book on the subject.

The substantive chapters deal with: establishing a business using e-commerce, on-line contracts, private international law, payment mechanisms and encryption, evidence, data protection, Webvertising, and tax. This is a fairly panoramic view of electronic commerce law, with perhaps only intellectual property dealt with a little cursorily. This reviewer would have liked to have seen a chapter on the topic (and a corresponding index entry!). The chapters themselves vary slightly in style and content, although this is perhaps to be expected in a multi-authored book on a subject as new, complicated and wide-ranging as electronic commerce.

All in all, this is a very useful contribution in an area which suffers from a dearth of up-to-date material. It is to be hoped that a second edition, with tables of cases and legislation, will be forthcoming. Whilst it is easy to find fault in books which seek to break new ground, this reviewer greatly enjoyed Electronic Commerce and read (almost) every word!

This is a Book Review published on 26 February 1999.

Citation: Dickie J, 'Chissick M and Kelman A, Electronic Commerce: Law and Practice', Book Review, 1999 (1)The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT). <>. New citation as at 1/1/04: <>



JILT logo and link to JILT home page