Immoral Contracts in Europe

This book brings together a group of renowned contract lawyers to analyse how their own legal systems deal with twelve cases of morally dubious agreements. It explores questions of validity, enforceability and the availability of remedies, while offering crucial insights into the divergences and converges between different European legal systems.
Aurelia Colombi Ciacchi, Chantal Mak, Zeeshan Mansoor
The Common Core of European Private Law
book | published | 1st edition
November 2020 | xlvii + 740 pp.



ISBN 9781839700101

When you check this box, you will be subscribed to the series. If you subscribe to the series, each new volume will automatically be sent to you. You can only cancel your subscription after having received two consecutive volumes.



ISBN 9781839701153

When purchasing an E-book from Intersentia you get instant access to all available digital formats.

Available formats: Epub  Pdf 


Contracts are illegal not only when they contravene specific legal rules, but also when they are considered immoral or contrary to public policy. In this way rules of contract law also influence the exceptional and sometimes fragile relationship between law and morality. They determine which issues can be made the subject of a legally valid and enforceable agreement according to the values underlying the legal order to which they pertain. But despite their geographic proximity, shared history and common aim of a strong EU internal market there are remarkable differences in the underlying values of many European legal systems.

This book brings together a group of well renowned contract lawyers that analyse how their own legal systems deal with 12 interesting cases of morally dubious agreements, including for example suretyships, conditional contracts of succession, nuptial agreements, surrogacy agreements, contracts for sex work and, of course, usurious contracts. All inspired by real litigations adjudicated by courts and covering the questions of validity and enforceability, as well as the availability of remedies.

To give a comprehensive picture of immoral contracts across Europe, the national perspectives are complemented by chapters providing historical insights as well as an EU perspective. Throughout the book comprehensive analysis of the findings offers crucial insights into divergences and convergences and the decisive factors driving European thinking.

With contributions by Susana Almeida, Paulius Astromskis, Marko Baretić, Valentina Bineva, Milan Budjač, Florin Ciutacu, Aurelia Colombi Ciacchi, Eugenia Dacoronia, Julie del Corral, Róbert Dobrovodský, Wolfgang Faber, Nuno Ferreira, Francesca Fiorentini, Morten M. Fogt, Kęstutis Gusevičius, Nikitas Hatzimihail, Torbjörn Ingvarsson, Monika Jurčová, Lorenz Kähler, Julija Kiršienė, Theis Klauberg, Ivana Klorusová, Jūlija Kolomijceva, Irene Kull, Laura Macgregor, Chantal Mak, Zeeshan Mansoor, Ľuboš Maxina, Adam McCann, Peter Mészáros, Špelca Mežnar, Tuulikki Mikkola, Zuzana Nevolná, Zdeněk Nový, Zsolt Okányi, Barbara Pasa, Charlotte Pavillon, Annina H. Persson, Katarína Procházková, Teresa Rodríguez de las Heras Ballell, Vincent Sagaert, Angel Shopov, Karolina Sikorska, Jozef Štefanko, Lyn K.L. Tjon Soei Len, Martina Uhliarová, Kurt Xerri, David E. Zammit and Jozef Zámožík.


PROF. DR. AURELIA COLOMBI CIACCHI is a Professor of Law and Governance at the Law Faculty of the University of Groningen. She was previously a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Oxford.

PROF. DR. CHANTAL MAK is a Professor of Private law, in particular fundamental rights and private law, at the Amsterdam Centre for Transformative Private Law (ACT) of the University of Amsterdam.

DR. ZEESHAN MANSOOR is an Assistant Professor at the Hazelhoff Centre for Financial Law of the University of Leiden. He is also a Director at the consultancy firm Alvarez & Marsal, focusing on Financial Industry Advisory Services (FIAS).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents and Preliminary Pages (p. 0)

Aurelia Colombi Ciacchi, Chantal Mak, Zeeshan Mansoor

Part I. The Issue of Morality in the Development of European Contract Law

Immortal Contracts in Europe: The First Common Core (p. 1)

Immorality of Contracts in Europe: Four Approaches (p. 15)

Part II. Case Studies

Questionnaire (p. 29)

Case 1: Sex Work Contracts (p. 37)

Case 2: Contracts Promoting Sex Work (p. 127)

Case 3: Contracts Promoting Telephone Sex (p. 177)

Case 4: Contracts Promoting “Dwarf Throwing” (p. 213)

Case 5: Surrogate Motherhood Contracts (p. 267)

Case 6: Marriage Brokerage Contracts (p. 341)

Case 7: Nuptial Agreements (p. 391)

Case 8: Contracts Restraining Marriage (p. 455)

Case 9: Conditional Contracts of Succession (p. 505)

Case 10: Contracts Restricting Personal Liberty (p. 553)

Case 11: Usurious Contracts (p. 589)

Case 12: Immoral Suretyships (p. 647)

Part III. Comparative Conclusions

28 Jurisdictions and 12 Types of Morally Dubious Contracts: To What Extent is there a Common Core? (p. 715)

About the series:

The Common Core of European Private Law

Launched in 1993, The Common Core of European Private Law is the oldest ongoing collective comparative law effort in Europe. Putting cases at their heart, each book in this series analyses a selected legal topic on the basis of real and fictional facts across different European jurisdictions. The likely outcome of the decision and its underlying legal rules are clearly set out case by case and jurisdiction by jurisdiction. In addition, the national reporters put the respective legal rules into the relevant cultural context. In this way, the collaborative effort brings not only the inner structures of national laws in Europe to the fore, but also the different cultural sensitivities forging their development in the first place. It allows a reliable map of what is different and what is common in the various private laws across Europe to be drawn, without any specific agenda for or against the further harmonisation of private law in Europe. The series comprises more than 20 volumes of work of more than 300 academics and is an invaluable tool to understand private law across Europe.

General Editors
Mauro Bussani, University of Trieste (Italy) – University of Macao (People’s Republic of China)
Ugo Mattei, University of Turin (Italy) – University of California, Hastings College of Law (USA)

Scientific Board
Aurelia L.B. Colombi Ciacchi, University of Groningen (the Netherlands)
Anna di Robilant, Boston University (USA)
Francesca Fiorentini, University of Trieste (Italy)
Antonio Gambaro (Emeritus), State University of Milan (Italy)
James Russell Gordley, Tulane University (USA)
Marta Infantino, University of Trieste (Italy)
Alessandra Quarta, University of Turin (Italy)
Mathias Reimann, University of Michigan (USA)
María Elena Sánchez Jordán, University of La Laguna (Tenerife, Spain)
Filippo Valguarnera, Stockholm University (Sweden)
Franz Werro, University of Fribourg (Switzerland) – Georgetown University Law Center (USA)

More about this series