Free Movements and Contract Law

12 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2008

See all articles by Jacobien W. Rutgers

Jacobien W. Rutgers

VU University Amsterdam - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July, 29 2008


In this paper the interplay between the free movements of goods, services, capital and persons and contract law is discussed. They are closely linked, since contract law provides the legal infrastructure of the free movements. However, the relevance of contract law for the internal market is not reflected in the number of ECJ rulings. Two instances in which the free movements affect contract law and contract are dealt with. First, national rules of contract law may be contrary to the free movements; specific attention is given to the role of conflict rules in this respect. Secondly, the contract which the parties concluded, is contrary to a rule of national public law, which is a barrier to trade and must be set aside. This will influence the rights and obligations of the parties to the contract. In this respect a distinction between control ex post and ex ante is made. Finally, the conclusion is drawn that although the ECJ case law is not that numerous, the free movements affect contract law and contract increasingly.

Keywords: contract law, conflicts of law, free movements

JEL Classification: K12, K19

Suggested Citation

Rutgers, Jacobien W., Free Movements and Contract Law (July, 29 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Jacobien W. Rutgers (Contact Author)

VU University Amsterdam - Faculty of Law ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam

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