The forthcoming EC directive on unfair commercial practices. Contract, consumer and competition law implications

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Series Details Vol.5
Publication Date 2004
ISBN 90-411-2224-9
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The European Union is committed to the construction of an internal market enabling the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital, within a common commercial policy and regulated to ensure that competition remains fair and undistorted. This work contains a number of essays by distinguished authors from Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom which examine the proposed Directive prohibiting unfair commercial practices and consider its significance in the context of general contract law.

The book is organised over ten chapters. Chapter one provides the background to EC regulation of unfair commercial practices with specific emphasis on the difficulties facing European or transnational regulation in the field of fair trading. Chapter two looks at the feasibility of a general legislative framework of fair trading, based on the premise that such a framework must recognise the advances in consumer protection made in recent decades. Chapter three considers the rules on competition and fair trading already in place in some countries, illustrating their compatibility with a 'model' code and exploring the potential and minimum requirements for those countries seen as deficient in consumer protection and regulatory law. Chapter four deals with conflict of interests and the fair dealing duty, and seeks to verify whether to act in conflict of interests could be considered as a particular illustration of unfair dealing. The part played by co-regulation in the development of European fair trading laws is the subject of chapter five. This is seen by the author to be an important role but as so often 'the devil is in the detail'. Chapter six is a lengthy paper on EC competition rules on vertical restrictions and the realities of a changing retail sector of national contract laws. Chapter seven presents an analysis of the relationship between consumer protection law and competition law from the perspective of law and economics. Chapter eight examines the same relationship in the context of existing EC contract law. Chapter nine discusses the concept of a framework directive to improve regulation of marketing and good market behaviour - or would more specific rules be preferable on a European level? The Green Paper on EU consumer protection features in most of the contributions and in chapter ten the author aims to set it in the wider context of the efforts to achieve greater uniformity in contract law currently progressing at the European level.

The work will interest scholars, students and practitioners engaged in European Contract Law, European Competition Law and Consumer Protection Law.

Hugh Collins is Professor of English Law at the London School of Economics.

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