A Shift in Focus: Systematisation in European Private Law Through EU Law

26 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2011

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper


The discourse on the Europeanisation of private law appears gradually to be moving into new territory in which the central debate on convergence of private laws in Europe makes place for structural questions on private law development in a multi-level European legal order. With the realisation that private law is and will remain complementary regulated at EU level and in national laws, a re-orientation is called for that, in the words of Micklitz, allows one to determine which norms shall be elaborated and enforced at what level and by whom. This article accepts that such a re-orientation is needed in relation to substance, process, instruments and enforcement; a more fundamental question needs to be addressed, however, in order to ensure coherence in the development of private law in Europe. As can be gleaned from existing practice in EU consumer law, competition law, and financial market regulation, a deeply engrained tension between market integration and protectionist policies in Community law has resulted in incoherent regulation at EU level, which filters through into national legal systems. This puts at risk fundamental values of private law, such as certainty and fairness. A solution for this is proposed by shifting the focus from national private laws to the political and doctrinal structure of EU private law, and the normative framework it provides. General principles of EU private law, it is argued, could and should provide a counterweight to the problem of conflicting policies and set out a guideline for the future development of European private law.

Suggested Citation

Mak, Vanessa, A Shift in Focus: Systematisation in European Private Law Through EU Law. European Law Journal, Vol. 17, No. 3, pp. 403-428, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1817165 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0386.2011.00557.x

Vanessa Mak (Contact Author)

Tilburg Law School ( email )

Department of Private Law, room M310
Tilburg, - 5000 LE

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics