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Towards a European Law of Contracts

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European contract law has recently been the subject of increasing attention and intense debate. In addressing this issue, the following contribution departs from traditional analyses of the necessity, feasibility, and opportunity to harmonise national legislation on contractual relations. Instead, the author seeks to demonstrate that, with the objective of promoting the internal market and developing trade within it, EC authorities have long since given birth to a genuine European contract law. Beginning with the analysis of a body of EC directives, this article argues that the genuine nature of this law can be ascertained despite its limits or rather by taking these limits into account. The important rights granted to different contracting parties (consumer-purchaser, consumer-tourist, and certain professionals) stand in contrast to the formal incoherence and fragmented character of the legal texts. The article concludes that, in analysing the notion of European contact law, it is necessary to adapt a functional approach rather than a formal one, because the functional approach has dominated European integration and the European law of contracts since its inception.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales et Communautaires (CERIC, UMR 6102)

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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