Information society services and e-commerce
Information society services and e-commerce

The following Commercial guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Information society services and e-commerce
  • Scope of the E-Commerce Regulations 2002
  • General exclusions
  • General information obligations
  • Commercial communications
  • Information requirements where contracting electronically
  • Requirements where orders are placed electronically (excluding orders by email)
  • Customer remedies
  • Mere conduit, caching and hosting defences
  • Country of origin principle and its limitations
  • more

Brexit: As of exit day (11pm on 31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this Practice Note. For further guidance, see Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources and Brexit toolkit.

This Practice Note describes the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 (E-Commerce Regulations 2002), SI 2002/2013, which give effect in the UK to Directive 2000/31/EC, E-Commerce Directive. This Practice Note discusses the scope of the E-Commerce Regulations 2002 as they apply to businesses established in the UK, including key definitions, obligations and statutory defences.

The government has issued guidance on the E-Commerce Regulations 2002 in the form of a guide and an FAQ.

Scope of the E-Commerce Regulations 2002

The aim of the E-Commerce Directive was to ensure the free movement of ‘information society services’ and to regulate information society service providers (ISSPs) across the EU. Regulation 3 of the E-Commerce Regulations 2002 sets out various exclusions to their scope, reflecting the exclusions contained in the E-Commerce Directive (see General exclusions below).

What are information society services?

‘Information society services’ are defined in the E-Commerce Regulations 2002 by reference to the E-Commerce Directive, as follows:

‘…(which is summarised