An “electronic agent” is:

“a computer program or electronic or other automated means used independently to initiate an action or to respond in whole or in part to information or actions in electronic form or communicated by electronic means, without review or action by a natural person.”

In other words, computer code which will carry out a task or series of tasks, in response to information it receives, without further input from a human. For example, programming a computer to purchase an item online once it has scanned the web for the lowest priced item. The Ordinance confirms that the creation, formation, execution and performance of binding contracts can be effected by computers without human intervention.

Reliance on technology has raised awareness of the associated risks and the complex legal issues that arise. This has driven an interest in ensuring certainty where possible. We anticipate that the Ordinance will encourage innovation and businesses to rely on technology solutions to automate routine processing, where possible.

This is primarily a piece of “facilitative” legislation. Those businesses who are interested in this space should review their terms of business and processes to ensure that the consequences of such concluded transactions are as intended. Similarly, the programming of “electronic agents” should be reviewed to ensure there are no bugs or errors which might have (unintended) binding consequences or cause confusion.

There will be a presumption that the person utilising the electronic agent wished to form a binding contract through that agent, so be careful with that programming – ensure the instructions are clear!

It may take a little time for use cases to become common, but the certainty provided by the Ordinance will be welcomed by businesses.

Share
Twitter LinkedIn Email Save as PDF
More Publications
7 Nov 2019 |

Legal Status

Guernsey has a rich history - you don’t have to look far to see the impact that a variety of cultu...

7 Nov 2019 |

The Inequality of Equality Legislation in the Channel Islands

This summer Guernsey launched its public consultation in relation to proposals to introduce a compre...

10 Oct 2019 |

What do you mean?

The English language is as fascinating as it is quirky. It can produce surprising results. Contranym...

Contributors: Paula Fry
9 Oct 2019 |

Transparency and the Crown Dependencies

Transparency of beneficial ownership information has been a political issue since June 2013 when Bri...

25 Sep 2019 |

GDPR: A Success Story?

Prior to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force on 25 May 2018, there was a...

Contributors: Jennifer Rosser
18 Sep 2019 |

Offshore listing Vehicles to benefit from the Shanghai - London stock connect

Offshore listing Vehicles to benefit from the Shanghai - London stock connect

Contributors: Huiyan Liew
22 Jul 2019 |

Catching the Unicorn

The dream investment must surely be the initial funding round of a “tech unicorn” – a technolo...

Contributors: Jeremy Berchem
1 Jul 2019 |

Guernsey Bailiffs Past and Present

It has been confirmed that the Bailiff of Guernsey, Sir Richard Collas, will retire in May 2020 and ...

Contributors: Lisa Upham
28 Jun 2019 |

Internal Investigations - Evidence for the Prosecution

Sophisticated organisations are frequently required to undertake internal investigations. These can ...

Contributors: Anthony Williams
26 Jun 2019 |

Regulatory Headwinds

Faced with increased scrutiny from regulators on both global and jurisdictional levels, businesses m...

Contributors: David Dorgan