EU Directive on a Legal Framework for E-commerce
The EU Regulatory Framework
for Electronic Communications
EU Directive on a Legal Framework for E-commerce
part of the EU, Gibraltar is of course subject
to EU law which impacts on e-commerce. There
is a fair amount of this, but the most important
part is the Directive to establish a coherent
legal framework for e-commerce development within
the Single Market, which was approved in May
2000. Its key components are as follows:
directive implements the principles of free
movement of services and freedom of establishment.
most contentious issue regards the liability
of on-line service providers. The Directive
establishes an exemption from liability for
intermediaries where they play a passive role
as a "mere conduit" of information
from third parties and limits service providers'
liability for other "intermediary"
activities such as the storage of information.
Directive also clarifies that the Internal Market
principle of mutual recognition of national
laws and the principle of the country of origin
must be applied to Information Society services.
of establishment. The Directive defines the
place of establishment as the place where an
operator actually pursues an economic activity
through a fixed establishment, irrespective
of where web-sites or servers are situated or
where the operator may have a mailbox.
The Directive requires Member States to oblige
Information Society service providers to make
available to customers and competent authorities
in an easily accessible and permanent form basic
information concerning their activities (name,
address, e-mail address, etc).
contracts. The Directive requires Member States
to remove any prohibitions or restrictions on
the use of electronic contracts. In addition,
it ensures legal security by imposing certain
information requirements for the conclusion
of electronic contracts in particular in order
to help consumers to avoid technical errors.
communications. The Directive defines commercial
communications (such as advertising and direct
marketing) and subjects them to transparency
The Directive strengthens mechanisms ensuring
that existing EU and national legislation is
enforced. This includes encouraging the development
of codes of conduct at EU level, stimulating
administrative co-operation between Member States
and facilitating the setting up of effective,
alternative cross-border on-line dispute settlement
The EU Regulatory Framework for
July 2000 the Commission published a package
of proposals for a new Regulatory Framework
for electronic communications, with the following
for a directive on a common regulatory framework
for electronic communications networks and
Proposal for a directive on universal service
and users rights relating to electronic
communications networks and services
Proposal for a directive on access to, and
interconnection of, electronic communications
networks and associated facilities
Proposal for a directive concerning the processing
of personal data and the protection of privacy
in the electronic communications sector
Proposal for a directive on the authorisation
of electronic communications networks and
Proposal for a regulation on unbundled access
to the local loop
Proposal for a decision on a regulatory framework
for radio spectrum policy in the European
Gibraltar is also
subject to The Electronic Signatures Directive
1999/93/EC on a Community framework for electronic
signatures, which was approved in December 1999.
Electronic Commerce Ordinance was passed on
March 5, 2001 by the Gibraltar parliament, the
House of Assembly, and was viewed as an important
step in Gibraltar's development as an e-commerce
hub to rival its nearest competitors, such as
Guernsey, Malta and the Isle of Man.
legislation facilitates the use of electronic
means for transmitting and storing information
and affords legal recognition to transactions
effected electronically. It also provides a
framework for the accreditation of electronic
signatures and determines the activities and
liability of service providers.
Government described the Bill as follows: 'The
legislation is aimed at "facilitating the
use of electronic means for transmitting and
storing information" and affords legal
recognition to transactions effected electronically.
It also provides a framework for the accreditation
of electronic signatures and determines the
activities and liability of service providers.'
April 2004 the Gibraltar government established
a new E-Business Advisory Council, calling it
a step towards the creation of an e-commerce
centre for both local and international traders
in the export business.
June, 2005, the Government of Gibraltar issued
a detailed consultation paper, including draft
legislation, for a Bill for a Gambling Ordinance,
which is intended to modernise the current gaming
legal framework. The proposed Gambling Ordinance
aims to modernise Gibraltar’s very old
gaming legislation, and to create a statutory
licensing and regulatory framework, in the light
of Gibraltar’s status as a leading jurisdiction
for on-line gaming.
on the consultation paper, Chief Minister Peter
Caruana, who has ministerial responsibility
for gaming, observed that: “This Government
has always attached and continues to attach
considerable importance to the protection of
Gibraltar’s jurisdictional reputation,
as well as to providing an operating environment
that protects the corporate reputation of gaming
companies established here."
draft legislation is intended to update the
statutory framework to ensure that Government
is able to continue doing so in the light of
the recent growth in new gaming activities.
It is the Government’s intention to take
a Gambling Bill to the House of Assembly early
in the Autumn.”