EU Private Law

The book deals with the impact of EU law on private relations. While EU law has principally developed through vertical relations of the Union and its Member States with private persons, its foundations, principles and enforcement mechanisms are increasingly affecting the growing body of EU law governing horizontal relations between individuals and undertakings. The results are sometimes unexpected and sometimes inappropriate.
Jürgen Basedow
book | published | 1st edition
May 2021 | cxxviii + 788 pp.



ISBN 9781839701214



ISBN 9781839701580

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EU law covers numerous sectors of private law and is still expanding. Due to its fragmentary nature, most legal literature addresses specific areas such as EU labour law, EU company law, EU private international law, EU consumer law, etc. In contrast, this book presents an innovative approach in its analysis of EU private law, considering its continuous expansion as an ongoing process and interrogating some central questions: What is private law in the framework of the EU? How does EU private law relate to traditional concepts of private law? What is the impact on horizontal relations of the law of the Union which was established with a view to the integration of peoples in Europe? Is the frequent reference to the policy orientation of EU law sufficient to overcome the differences between public and private law?

Like the growth rings of a tree the numerous acts and judgments of EU private law feed from the trunk and the roots, which developed in the vertical relations between the Union and the Member States. The foundations of EU law, which often have a background in legal history, comparative experience and public international law, impact upon horizontal relations in a manner previously unknown in national systems of private law.

Across ten parts grouped in four books devoted to foundations, principles, enforcement and implementation, respectively, as well as the external dimension, the author elaborates on the peculiarities of EU private law as compared to the traditional analysis of private law in any given national legal system. The author traces throughout the book the origins of legal principles and rules in comparative law, legal history and public international law and their application and development in EU private law instruments and the judgments of the CJEU. This comparison helps to strengthen our understanding of those peculiarities and paves the way for a comprehensive critical assessment of the state of EU private law today.


“Professor Basedow offers an original and thought-provoking account of the emerging principles of EU private law. The EU has intervened in specific, typically detailed ways across a range of topics within private law. But this does not create a distinct EU-level private law. Instead by systematic, thorough and original analysis, Basedow shows how coherent themes and principles shape the specific contributions of the EU to Member State private laws. These values are not only market-based, but social and ethical. He is forthright in criticising lack of clarity and incoherence where he finds it. But he also offers a sense of direction for how the EU should undertake its interventions in private law. The work shows a breadth of knowledge of Member State laws as well as of the range of EU legislation, case law and soft law, presented in a clear and succinct manner. EU Private Law is a landmark work which will be a reference point for EU lawyers and national lawyers alike.
-- John Bell, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Cambridge, 2021

JÜRGEN BASEDOW is Director Emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law and Professor of Law at the University of Hamburg.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents and Preliminary Pages (p. 0)

Jürgen Basedow

Book I: Foundations

Part I: Private Law in European Integration (p. 1)

Part II: Development of EU Private Law (p. 59)

Part III: Sources of EU Private Law (p. 163)

Book II: Principles

Part IV: Principles of the Legal Community (p. 325)

Part V: Market Principles (p. 397)

Part VI: Solidarity Principles (p. 451)

Book III: Implementation and Enforcement

Part VII: Institutional and Procedural Framework (p. 539)

Part VIII: Legal Method (p. 597)

Book IV: The External Dimension of EU Private Law

Part IX: The Policy Approach: Scope Rules (p. 655)

Part X: The Legal Certainty Approach: Bilateral Conflict Rules (p. 695)

Epilogue (p. 723)

Jürgen Basedow