The Impact of EU Law on Belgian Consumer Law Terminology
Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI) Working Paper No. 2013/04; Final version published as Cauffman, C. (2012). The impact of EU law on Belgian consumer law terminology. European Review of Private Law, 20(5&6), 1325-1352.
24 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2013 Last revised: 12 Jan 2014
Date Written: January 22, 2013
The contribution analyses the impact of EU law on Belgian consumer law terminology. The analysis leads to the conclusion that the implementation of EU directives in the field of consumer law distorted the Belgian legal terminology. In particular, consumer law terminology often differs from civil law terminology. The meaning of traditional civil law concepts is no longer respected in the field of consumer law. Moreover, the implementation of EU consumer law directives even caused a single concept (seller) to be used for some time in different meanings within the field of consumer law and even within a single legal instrument (the ACPC). Recently, the Belgian legislator wisely made an effort to introduce a more coherent terminology while respecting its duty to correctly implement the EU consumer law directives, in particular by introducing in the AMPC the concept of an undertaking instead of the two concepts of seller. The emphasis that is put on the fact that the concept of an undertaking in the AMPC is taken from EU competition law, may, however, cause new difficulties.Yet, the terminological changes induced by EU consumer directives also had beneficial effects. For example, the qualification of contracts for the combined supply of things and services is quite problematic under Belgian civil law. By explicitly providing that such contracts are to be treated as contracts of sale for the purposes of the rules on consumer sales, legal certainty has increased for consumers.
Keywords: consumer law, legal terminology, full harmonisation, seller, trader, undertaking, commercial practices, goods, products, conformity, sale, nullity
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