General Principles of EU Civil Law focuses on a rapidly developing but still highly controversial area of EU law: the emergence of general principles with constitutional relevance for EU civil law, guiding its interpretation, gap filling and legality control. This study brings to light seven principles in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Principles 1 to 3 on framed autonomy, protection of the weaker party and non-discrimination are now part of substantive EU law, mainly contract law. Principle 4 on effectiveness, together with the principle of equivalence, is an “old acquaintance” of EU law and has mostly to do with procedures but can also be extended to cover substantive and remedial matters. Principles 5 and 6 on balancing and proportionality are primarily concerned with methodological questions: the first has to do with judicial interpretation and application of EU civil law, the second with legal-political questions on the future of a (questionable) codified or optional EU civil law, in particular sales law. Finally, principle 7 on good faith is still an emerging principle but is gradually gaining importance.
This book will allow the reader to understand and to assess the current evolution of EU civil law in days where its autonomous character is increasingly recognised in the case law of the Court, and where the Charter is having a growing impact on its constitutional foundations.
About this book
‘The topic is highly relevant these days and orders our case-law in ways that only a proficient academic like Norbert Reich is capable of doing. That effort will in turn be taken into account in the further development of the case-law.’
Koen Lenaerts, Vice-President of the Court of Justice of the European Union
‘Professor Reich has written a book that is not merely rich and broad in ambition,but in fact genuinely ground-breaking. In identifying, explaining and analysing seven key principles of EU civil law, he has drawn us a map that will help scholars to find their way through the forbiddingly dense jungle populated by EU Treaty provisions, the legislative acquis and the Court’s case law. And, in showing how proudly ‘social’ much of the EU’s protective regulation affecting private parties truly is, he has set a tone that EU policymakers should embrace.’
Stephen Weatherill, Jacques Delors Professor of European Law, University of Oxford
‘For the private lawyer, probably the most interesting recent development in EU law is the emergence of principles of private law, developed by the European Court of Justice. This phenomenon unfolds in three strands. Firstly, the Court has developed general principles of EU law which are also relevant for private law. Secondly, since the entry into force of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (2009) a process of judicial interpretation has started which shows that not a few provisions have a significant impact on private law. In a third wave of innovations the ECJ seems to be willing to develop principles of civil law, in a more restricted sense, playing their role purely within the ambit of private law. In his new book, General Principles of EU Civil Law, Norbert Reich reaches out to these different categories of principles, combining them under one heading and systematising them in a new and original way.’
Arthur Hartkamp, Professor of European Private Law, Radboud University, Nijmegen
‘Showing the hidden face of European private law is probably the best way to demonstrate the importance of European integration in private law. Through this remarkable accomplishment professor Norbert Reich offers us a refreshing look at what forms the general principles of European private law. A valuable book that no private law researcher claiming an interest in European law can miss to have in his library!’
Jean-Sylvestre Bergé, in RTDeur (2014)
Introduction. What are General Principles of EU Civil Law? (p. 1)
Chapter 1. The Principle of “Framed” Autonomy (p. 17)
Chapter 2. The Principle of Protection of the Weaker Party (p. 37)
Chapter 3. The Principle of Non-Discrimination (p. 59)
Chapter 4. The Principle of Effectiveness (p. 89)
Chapter 5. The Principle of Balancing (p. 131)
Chapter 6. The Principle of Proportionality (p. 155)
Chapter 7. An Emerging Principle of Good Faith and of a Prohibition of Abuse of Rights? (p. 189)
Summary. Seven Theses and a Conclusion (p. 213)
Index (p. 215)
Parts of this book have been made open access. We make chapters open access because they are particularly topical, or provide a useful introduction to the subject. They may be available for a limited time or indefinitely. Some books are entirely and permanently open access.