For the purpose of this question, let's assume an eCommerce company has the following profile:
- Registration Location: London;
- Distribution and Manufacturing: London;
- Domain Name: www.example.co.uk;
- Physical Location of Server: UK;
- Orders: This domain only accepts orders from within the UK.
Referring to the above profile, it would be fairly obvious that this eCommerce company would be required to abide by the Laws and Legislation set within the Jurisdiction of England and Wales.
Then let's assume this same company decides to expand and reach out to an Australian audience for example. To do this, the company sets up a new
www.example.au domain to accept orders from Australia.
What Jurisdiction would this Australian website fall under? Would it be required to follow the Laws and Legislation of England and Wales, since it is operating from such a location or would it need to be mindful of the Laws and Legislation of where the site visitor interacted with the website?
Assuming there is a simple answer to the above, what would happen if the company also had a
www.example.com domain that would accept orders from the rest of the World? Again, this 'Rest of the World' domain being operated from the UK.
Let's make things a little more complicated. Keeping with the above scenario but this time, the company opens up an Office in Australia that deals with Customer Orders, Enquiries and manages the Manufacturing & Shipping operations. Same company just another Office in a different Geographical location. How would this impact matters concerning Jurisdiction?
I have come across a lot of discussions online, often conflicting, but would appreciate feedback on my assumptions on such matters.
In the event that the Company is registered in the UK but the servers are physically located in Australia, I am assuming the company could not be penalised by the Jurisdiction of Australia but Australian authorities could request the server to be shut down in Australia if they feel any content or interactions etc do not comply with their Laws and Legislation. This then basically saying 'If you want to operate here, you will need to register and comply with our laws'.
Moving on to the issue of having an Office/Distribution Warehouse in Australia ...
Would I be right in thinking that the UK based Company would need to register the Offices/Distribution Warehouse in Australia? Effectively creating a separate Australian Company? Therefore, this Company being required to comply with the Laws and Legislation within Australia?
My thoughts being that if the company was not registered as a company in Australia, issues revolving employment, tax etc would arise not to mention relevant Insurances.
In the event that the company wanted to set its UK Registered Company as the 'Headquarters', they would need to set up a Contract between the UK and Australian Company. This would bring with it the issue of Jurisdiction between the countries but that is a whole other question.
I am getting a lot of conflicting information to date, including from Legal advisors, but I would appreciate any feedback on the experiences of others and/or any pointers into the direction I should per sue to establish facts on matters of Jurisdiction.