Rules and Principles in European Contract Law

This book brings together the papers presented at the Society of European Contract Law’s 13th annual conference. It discusses the effect of constitutional principles, common principles to the laws of the EU Member States and whether common principles can be transferred into rules.

Jacobien Rutgers, Pietro Sirena
European Contract Law and Theory
book | published | 1st edition
June 2015 | xii + 160 pp.


ISBN 9781780682570

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In its case law the Court of Justice of the European Union has acknowledged general principles of EU law, which have a constitutional status. In addition the Court of Justice has also recognised ‘general principles of civil law’, relying upon values which are traditionally rooted in the domain of private law.

The pervasive use of principles, both in the case law of the Court of Justice and in other EU projects of ‘soft ’ and ‘hard’ law, challenges legal scholarship. Although the concepts of principles and rules have been widely discussed within the context of national legal orders, they need to be rethought at the European level, because the traditional view of a principle does not fit the European Union’s constitutional architecture. This also applies to the general principles of civil law, for instance good faith. They also have to be redefined to be consistent with the European Union’s legal order.

The contributions in this book examine EU general principles and their distinction from rules both within the context of the European Union as well as of the Member States. Moreover, they focus on the relevance of EU general principles for contract law and of principles of civil law for a European contract law.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents (p. 0)

Introduction (p. 1)

Jacobien Rutgers, Pietro Sirena

Principles versus Rules in the Emerging European Contract Law (p. 7)

Pietro Sirena

The ECJ and General Principles Derived from the Acquis Communautaire (p. 33)

The Principle of Effectiveness and EU Contract Law (p. 45)

Norbert Reich

The Principle of Proportionality and European Contract Law (p. 69)

Caroline Cauffman

‘General Principles’ and ‘Underlying Principles’ in the Proposed Common European Sales Law and their Role in its Interpretation (p. 99)

Simon Whittaker

Contractual Autonomy and European Private Law (p. 123)

Good Faith and Reasonableness in European Contract Law (p. 135)

Benefits to the Defendant as a Measure for Relief: Toward a Specific Rule in European Contract Law? (p. 151)

About the series:

European Contract Law and Theory

The Society of European Contract Law (SECOLA) promotes the development and understanding of European contract law including its economic, sociological and intellectual historic relation in theory and in practice. Further, SECOLA provides an international platform for the discussion of developing and proposed contract law in Europe.

In this spirit, the book series European Contract Law and Theory (EUCOLATH) combines dogmatic thinking in comparative and EU law with strong social theory considerations and makes the results of the discussions of leading scholars and practitioners publicly available.

Editorial Board

Prof. Dr iur. Dr phil. Stefan Grundmann, LLM (Berkeley)
Professor of Private, Commercial and International Law at Humboldt-University, Berlin, and Professor of Transnational Law and Theory at the European University Institute, Florence (part-time)

Prof. Hugh Collins
Cassel Professor of Commercial Law at the London School of Economics, London, and Fellow of the British Academy

Prof. Dr Fernando Gómez Pomar
Professor of Civil Law and Law and Economics at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona

Prof. Jacobien Rutgers
Professor in Private Law and Private International Law at the Free University (VU) Amsterdam

Prof. Dr Pietro Sirena
Professor of Private Law at Bocconi University, Milan

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