European Contract Law and the Capabilities Approach: On Distributive Responsibility for Contract Law

N. Weidtmann, Y.M. Hölzchen, B. Hawa (eds.), “The Capability Approach on Social Order", pp.132-148, 2012 LIT Verlag, Münster, Proceedings of Unseld Lecture 2010 with a preface by Martha Nussbaum

Centre for the Study of European Contract Law Working Paper Series No. 2010/00

16 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2012 Last revised: 4 Sep 2012

See all articles by Lyn Tjon Soei Len

Lyn Tjon Soei Len

Center for the Study of European Contract Law; University of Amsterdam; University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

This paper argues that the normative requirements of Nussbaum’s capabilities approach extend to contract law (and private law more broadly). Contract law is part of a society’s basic structure, i.e. the responsibility bearing structure that is to secure and enhance individuals’ basic capabilities. This argument depends on one’s acceptance of a distributive conception of contract law. This paper understands contract law as a fundamental legal structure of the market. Contract law reflects how people are to behave towards each other, others and society as a whole when engaging in market activities. As the basic regulatory structure of the market, contract law (and private law more broadly) reflects the minimum standards of decency and justice to which a society adheres.

This paper was accepted as a working paper in 2010 at Forum Scientiarum at the University of Tübingen and consequently published in its proceedings. The paper was also presented at the 2011 winter meeting of the Dutch Association for Philosophy of Law.

Keywords: contract law, Nussbaum, capabilities approach, basic structure

Suggested Citation

Tjon Soei Len, Lyn, European Contract Law and the Capabilities Approach: On Distributive Responsibility for Contract Law (2010). N. Weidtmann, Y.M. Hölzchen, B. Hawa (eds.), “The Capability Approach on Social Order", pp.132-148, 2012 LIT Verlag, Münster, Proceedings of Unseld Lecture 2010 with a preface by Martha Nussbaum; Centre for the Study of European Contract Law Working Paper Series No. 2010/00. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2138196

Lyn Tjon Soei Len (Contact Author)

Center for the Study of European Contract Law ( email )

P.O. Box 1030
Amsterdam, 1000 BA
Netherlands
0205253134 (Phone)

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Spui 21
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Law ( email )

Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

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