Unjust Conduct in the Internal Market: On the Role of European Private Law in the Division of Moral Responsibility between the EU, its Member States and Their Citizens

Author (Person)
Series Title
Series Details Vol.35, No.1, 1 December 2016, p410–452
Publication Date 14/10/2016
Content Type


This paper argues that the European Union (EU) can be held morally responsible for ensuring justice in the internal market.

In particular, the EU must prevent and sanction unjust market conduct by private parties through appropriate private law rules and ensure at least minimal protection of the private rights of internal market agents. The EU’s moral responsibility for maintaining justice in the internal market requires an EU discourse of civil justice going well beyond (and at times against) the European Commission’s slogan of ‘justice for growth’.

The article first discusses and rejects three potential challenges to its main claim, all of which are based on different alleged divisions of labour, as a result of which it would seem to follow that European private law has no role to play in assuring distributive and interpersonal justice in the internal market. It then outlines how we might arrive at a conception of unjust conduct in the internal market that is compatible with the value pluralism that characterizes Europe today. Finally, it explains why the private law acquis, because of the way it is currently constituted, is unlikely already to be in compliance with such standards of civil justice in the internal market.

Source Link https://doi.org/10.1093/yel/yew014
Subject Categories ,
Countries / Regions