The Government will publish the Irish Electronic Commerce Bill in the next few weeks. It is expected that the Bill will flesh out the skeleton format published as a consultation paper by the Department of Public Enterprise last August. A light regulatory touch technology neutral in form mirroring the European digital signatures directive is likely.

Legislation putting electronic communications on the same legal footing as written paper communications will be a welcome development and an accelerating force in Irish e-business.

Certain provisions of the legislation will undoubtedly need careful scrutiny. In particular the legal rules on formation of e-contracts and the liability of Certification Service Providers will be pivotal. The Technology law unit at A&L Goodbody have contributed to the consultation process with the Department of Public enterprise and are poised to provide comprehensive guidelines to the new legislation. We will post this as soon as the Bill is published.

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