An academic green paper on European contract law

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Publication Date 2002
ISBN 90-411-1853-5
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Book abstract:

European Contract Law is integral to a free market economy, and is the key area in private law. This book brings together the perspectives of those who orchestrated the models for contract law, those who invented the so-called 'Optional Code', to those who discuss the possibilities of decentralisation. In doing so, it provides an examination of three major options proposed by the European Commission in 2001: the enhancement of, and the removal of, inconsistencies in current EC Contract law, the inauguration of a European Code which will replace individual national laws, and the promotion of another which will merely supplement these individual laws. Broadly, it offers a summary of what European academia thinks of existing European Contract law, in terms of its options and its prospects for the future.

The work can be broken down into four major parts. Part one argues the case for the green paper process itself and the need for greater academic involvement, with work on scope, common ground and debated issues, as well as on the European Commission's communication on EU contract law. Part two, on developing contract law harmonisation, deals with the requirement for better and more meticulous empirical research, the arguments against 'Unifying Contract Law', directives on consumer protection, and the need for substantially 'levelling' the playing field. In part three, on the European Code which will replace national laws, there is work on the progressive codification of European Private Law, and various arguments both in favour of and against the European Code itself, while part five brings the book to a conclusion with discussions on whether or not the European code should supplement and not replace the existing national laws. This involves explorations of the tensions over centralised and decentralised decision-making, intra-European border-crossing contacts, international standard codes, the question of learning better ways forward and of a curriculum of how actually to proceed.

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