What tests or rules are applied by the courts to determine the proper jurisdiction for Internet-based transactions (or contentions) in cases where the defendant is resident or provides goods or services from outside the jurisdiction?

The general principle for a court to justify exercising jurisdiction over a foreign defendant in Internet based transactions, is that there must be sufficient contact in addition to the accessibility of a website. The mere fact that a defendant has accessed a website is not enough to establish jurisdiction. In order to exercise jurisdiction, it needs to be shown that the Defendant has taken further steps or actions.

In the case of defamation, a South African court’s jurisdiction vests when a party in South Africa access the offending material published by the Defendant.

Reproduced with permission from Law Business Research. This article was first published in Getting the Deal Through – e-Commerce 2009, (published in August 2008 – contributing editor Robert Bond). For further information please visit www.GettingtheDealThrough.com.