EU Parliament aims to decrease legal costs and improve access to justice with EU-wide optional contract law

June 8, 2011 at 10:22 pm Leave a comment

In the European Union there are 27 national systems of contractual law which overburden trans-border commerce and often put consumers at risk. An example could be a Hungarian consumer who wants to buy an item manufactured in Belgium  from a German web-site. Every sound study of the legal needs of everyday life reveal that consumer problems are the most frequent legal problem of the people. From this perspective the move of the European Parliament should be regarded as an important step for providing better access to civil justice for the citizens of the EU member states.

In essence the option backed by the European Parliament is to establish a 28th system of contractual law which like lex mercatoria is optional for the parties. The apparent benefits are numerous – 1) businesses will save the costs of exploring the legal systems of the member states where they want to operate and 2) the customers will have more certainty with regards to the applicable contractual rules when they deal with vendors from other member states.

Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission commented:

“I welcome today’s vote by the European Parliament to back an optional European contract law. I am looking closely at all the possibilities to ease cross-border transactions, and I believe the option favoured by the European Parliament could be a very good choice. It would give Europe’s 500 million consumers more opportunities to shop across borders while cutting transaction costs for small businesses – the backbone of our economy. I will work closely with the European Parliament and all Member States to see how to turn today’s vote into an attractive legal reality.”

Read more about the EU-wide contract law here

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Entry filed under: Access to Justice, EU.

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