Bulgarian private law has always been at crossroads: it has diverse influences from both Western and Eastern Europe, and it has seen many turning points because of Bulgaria’s tumultuous past, including a communist regime. This book examines its fascinating and turbulent development from the end of the 19th century to the present day and highlights its distinctive features from a comparative perspective. Its main goal is to foster a better understanding of the current messy state of Bulgarian private law – particularly the law of obligations and property law – and an appreciation for its rich heritage.
The book begins by reflecting on why the study of Bulgarian private law is worthwhile. Literature in the English language on East European laws, especially on Bulgarian law, is scarce. Beyond responding to a gap in knowledge, the author argues that research into Bulgarian law may challenge the traditional taxonomies of comparative law, enrich the understanding of the common law–civil law divide, showcase the importance of context in legal development, and help address the difficulties of harmonisation of law in the EU. Subsequently, the book provides an overview of the scattered sources of Bulgarian private law, since Bulgaria does not have a civil code. It also traces the turbulent history of Bulgarian private law over the past century and a half to shed light on how the unexpected vibrant patchwork observed today came to be, and shatters myths about Bulgarian law spread due to years of communist censorship. The author then explains the complex fabric of Bulgarian contract law which emerges from legislation, scholarly writing and case law, surveys the hazy realms of tort and unjust enrichment, and examines the fascinating transformations of the right to property which required the re-invention of property law twice over the past 100 years. This is followed by a discussion on whether a reform of Bulgarian private law, including the enactment of a civil code, is necessary, as well as an evaluation of Bulgarian private law’s preparedness to help tackle the challenges of the 21st century, such as the digitalisation of trade, environmental problems, the protection of human rights, and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, the book recommends and explains, in context, literature for those willing to broaden their understanding of Bulgarian private law.
Bulgarian Private Law at Crossroads is written for students, academics, and practitioners interested in comparative law, as well as for any open-minded jurist wishing to discover more about the Bulgarian legal culture.
Radosveta Vassileva is a Visiting Research Fellow at Middlesex University (UK). Her research interests encompass comparative private and public law, and EU law. She holds a PhD in Law from University College London (UK), where she also served as a Teaching Fellow. She earned a Master’s degree in Economic Law from Sciences Po Paris (France), a Master’s degree in Global Business Law from Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (France), and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Tufts University (USA).
Chapter 1. Why Bulgarian Law? (p. 1)
Chapter 2. Sources, History, and Development of Bulgarian Private Law (p. 29)
Chapter 3. Particularities of Bulgarian Contract Law (p. 61)
Chapter 4. The Blurry Realms of Tort and Unjust Enrichment (p. 111)
Chapter 5. Re-Inventing Property Law (p. 141)
Chapter 6. Is Bulgarian Private Law Fit for the 21st Century? (p. 173)
Books in the Private Law Around the World series provide concise and straightforward accounts of a particular area or aspect of private law in a single jurisdiction, ‘legal tradition’, or group of related legal systems. They are particularly intended for readers from other jurisdictions or traditions, including those who are interested in understanding the various ways in which different jurisdictions and traditions approach similar issues in private law.
Professor Peter Cane – University of Cambridge