Optional Law: A Plea for Multiple Choice in Private Law
Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law, Vol. 17, pp. 347-352, 2010
6 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2011 Last revised: 14 Apr 2011
Date Written: March 16, 2011
The recent publication of the Green Paper on European contract law by the European Commission (2010) breathes new life into the old plan to develop an optional contract law for the European Union, based on the Draft Common Frame of Reference of European Private Law (DCFR). This editorial praises this initiative. It is also a plea for the introduction of optional law in many more areas than contract law alone. In the prevailing view, the conduct of private actors (such as citizens and firms) is governed by only one law. A view of optional law defends that these actors should be left with a multiple choice among various jurisdictions. This view is elaborated by giving an overview of existing European optional regimes (including the European Company, EEIG, SCE, Community trademark, European enforcement order, European payment order and European small claims procedure) and by asking what advantages optional law can have at both the European and the national level.
Keywords: Optional contract code, European company (SE), Mandatory law, Legal tourism, DCFR
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