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Can Electronic Agents Be Granted Legal Personality under Islamic Law? A Conceptual Rethink Is Imperative

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Most legislation, whether international or national, deals with electronic agents in a way that does not reflect the certainty of their features. In the past, only a human being could perform the functions that electronic agents do at present. Such electronic agents that are considered ‘Intelligent’ ramble quickly into various places, search for information, and carry out various stages of a transaction from product and merchant brokering through to negotiation, sales, distribution and payment. Nevertheless, legislations have classified them as communication tools. Perhaps such terminology has been chosen because of the lack of difficulty in its implementation or lack of legislation having the legal tools to recognize clearly the acts of electronic agents. In this paper, the concept ‘electronic agent’ is scrutinized and the feasibility of granting them ‘legal personality’ investigated, particularly under Islamic law. In particular, the question is asked: does the concept ‘legal personality’ really exist under Islamic law? If so, then how is it defined? In addition, in light of the definition(s) presented, how can ‘legal personality’ be attributed to electronic agents?

Affiliations: 1: School of Law, University of Central Lancashire UK

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