Moritz Keller


With the increasing use of the Internet, all on-line users, web site owners, e-commerce companies and consumers alike, feel the need to be able to rely on clear standards for a potential contract or tort lawsuit following the Internet presence that could lead to multinational litigation. This goal could be achieved if the negotiations of the Hague Convention on international jurisdiction and enforcement of foreign judgments in civil and commercial matters succeed in harmonizing the rules of the different legal systems around the globe, or at least create a minimum standard for legal cases which would benefit greatly e-commerce and Internet litigation. The author argues that the global character of the Internet does not present an obstacle to regulation. He then proceeds in a more detailed description and examination of the different systems of jurisdictional law, the current solutions as well as the proposed approaches for jurisdiction with regard to Internet litigation in tort and contract cases in the United States and the European Union. Concluding that the current American doctrine lacks certainty as well as foresee ability while providing ground for developing modern approaches, the author then argues that the European solution provides a better set of rules-especially for consumer contracts-and only the European solution can be used as a foundation for an international solution and best suits today's demands in multinational e-commerce and Internet tort cases. However, a slightly modified American/Canadian "targeting" test provides helpful criteria as well as a strong base concept with regard to Internet-related litigation and should therefore be integrated into an international solution for multinational litigation for a solid international solution to be acheived. By implementing this American/Canadian approach, the subsequent rules will provide foreseeability as well as the necessary flexibility to include new technologies and developments will be ensured. Finally, the status of the negotiations of the Hague Convention and the possible obstacles and problems of the current solutions is presented, along with a proposed solution aiming to institute a clear set of rules to establish foreseeability and certainty, while simultaneously establishing a concept that provides the flexibility to incorporate future developments.