Which Governance for European Private Law?

EUI Working Paper LAW No. 2007/26

57 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2007

Date Written: October 2007


The paper describes the necessity to consider the role of private rule making and the increasing importance of national regulatory agencies, in the process of European legal integration. It then focuses on the legislative design and process implementation of EPL. Its departing assumption is that EPL is and will remain a multilevel system where national implementation of European legislation generates intentional and unintentional spillover effects to be 'governed' through horizontal devices. The author underlines that the current legislative and judicial trend towards total harmonization is the wrong response to normative differentiation occurring in the process of national implementation. He analyses in particular the areas of unfair contract terms and commercial practices, providing examples of divergent implementation which can not be tackled only at legislative level, claiming that governance is a better response. He examines traditional modes of governance and then considers the applicability of new modes of governance to EPL. He makes several reform proposals; most of them do not require legislative intervention. At the legislative level, given that the competences are organised around policy areas while private law, following the national traditions, is conceptually organised around institutions, he proposes different ways to improve coordination at the Commission level, concerning legislative draft. Legislative drafting can also be improved by considering the different impacts of new legal categories in national legal systems, especially the general clauses. At the implementation level he emphasizes the role of judicial governance and the lack of coordination among national judiciaries proposing the establishment of a permanent judicial conference specialised in EPL to be coordinated with TFI and ECJ. He then proposes the institution of committees operating according to subjects (contract, property, tort) that would cut across directorates competences and would analyse the impact of European legislation on private law national systems. Finally he proposes the use of OMC, adequately redefined to evaluate the policy effects of implementation especially when it involves national regulatory agencies.

Keywords: European private law, contract, governance, judicial cooperation, open method of coordination (OMC)

Suggested Citation

Cafaggi, Fabrizio, Which Governance for European Private Law? (October 2007). EUI Working Paper LAW No. 2007/26, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1024110 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1024110

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