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The Electronic Commerce Directive (00/31/EC) and the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002 No. 2013)


The purpose of the Directive (and therefore the UK Regulations) is to ensure the free movement of “information society services” across the European Community and to encourage greater use of e-commerce by breaking down barriers across Europe and boost consumer confidence and trust by clarifying the rights and obligations of businesses and consumers.

Adopted on 8 June 2000 and published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on the 17 July 2000, the objective of the Directive was to ensure that information society services benefit from the internal market principles of free movement of services and freedom of establishment, in particular through the principle that they can trade throughout the European Community unrestricted or what is known as the “Country of Origin” rule.

A first review and report on the application of the E-Commerce Directive was carried out in 2003. Click here to see Review report on European Commission website. The Directive has not been reviewed since but the Commission hope to rectify the situation during 2009.

Businesses who conduct business online should also be aware of the requirements placed on them by the Distance Selling Regulations 2000 (SI 2000 No. 2334), which implemented  Distance Selling Directive 97/7/EC of 20 May 1997 on the protection of consumers in respect of distant contracts.