EU Private Law Injustices

41 Yearbook of European Law (Forthcoming)

EUI Department of Law Research Paper 2020

46 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2021 Last revised: 19 Sep 2022

See all articles by Martijn W. Hesselink

Martijn W. Hesselink

European University Institute; University of Amsterdam

Date Written: December 21, 2020


This paper offers a critique of injustices in European private law. It explains why the EU should be held morally responsible for the injustices created or supported by its private law. In particular, it demonstrates for several core elements of EU private law that they are unjust, because they cannot be justified with non-rejectable reasons, and insofar lead to domination by EU private law. This is the case, especially, for EU private law’s consumerism, its Eurocentrism, its constitutionalised market-functionalism, its doctrinal and judicial expert government, and its blindness towards intersectional domination. The paper also critically discusses, and rejects, various theories offering blueprints for an ideal European private law system. Instead, it argues for the priority of democratic justice and for an urgent focus on salient injustices in EU private law’s theory and practice.

Keywords: European private law, private law theory, critical theory, justice, interpersonal justice, social justice, consumerism, market functionalism, Eurocentrism, intersectionality, domination

Suggested Citation

Hesselink, Martijn W., EU Private Law Injustices (December 21, 2020). 41 Yearbook of European Law (Forthcoming), EUI Department of Law Research Paper 2020, Available at SSRN: or

Martijn W. Hesselink (Contact Author)

European University Institute ( email )

Villa Salviati
Via Bolognese 156
Florence, 50139

University of Amsterdam ( email )

University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Law
P.O. Box 1030
Amsterdam, 1000 BA

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics