Law Making in the European Union: On Globalization and Contract Law in Divergent Legal Cultures

23 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2008 Last revised: 29 Apr 2008

See all articles by Jan M. Smits

Jan M. Smits

Maastricht University Faculty of Law


An important problem of law making in a globalizing world is how to deal with diverging national legal cultures. Since the emergence of the nation-state, law making has primarily been a task for the national legislatures and courts. They 'make' law for relatively homogeneous societies that are usually characterized by a common language and culture. As a result of increasing globalization, this is now rapidly changing. If the law is to retain its role of regulating society (be it no longer a national, but a global one), new ways of making and enforcing law have to be found. This article offers an account of how to deal with some questions caused by increasing globalization in the field of private law. This account is not a general and theoretical one, but one that is based on the experience of the European Union (EU) in the field of contract law. European contract law is thus used as paradigmatic for globalisation and private law as a whole. There is every reason to do so: the European Union has wide experience with making law for diverging jurisdictions. In addition to this, contract law can be considered one of the most important vehicles for globalization as it facilitates economic transactions.

Keywords: Globalization, Regulation, Contract Law, European Union

JEL Classification: K12, K20

Suggested Citation

Smits, Jan M., Law Making in the European Union: On Globalization and Contract Law in Divergent Legal Cultures. Louisiana Law Review, Vol. 67, No. 4, pp. 1181-1203, 2007, Available at SSRN:

Jan M. Smits (Contact Author)

Maastricht University Faculty of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, NL-6200 MD


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics