The emergence of a pan-European contract law is one of the most significant legal developments in Europe today. The Emergence of EU Contract Law: Exploring Europeanization examines the origins of the discipline and its subsequent evolution. It brings the discussion up-to-date with full analysis of the debate on the Common Frame of Reference and the future that this ambiguous instrument may have in the contemporary European legal framework.
One of the central themes of the book is exploration of the multi-level, open architecture of the EU legal order, and the implications of that architecture for the EU's private law programme. The analysis demonstrates that the key to understanding European contract law in the 21st century lies in adopting a perspective and mechanisms suitable for a legal order populated by multiple sources of private law. Legal pluralism is offered as a theoretical construct with the capacity to shape the future of European private law, shifting the analytical spotlight beyond the traditional, centralized, legislative means of regulation. In so doing, softer mechanisms are introduced for the governance of contract law; mechanisms that enable coordination between the different sites at which contract law operates. This reorientation in thinking about European contract law, indeed about Europeanization itself, enables the inevitable diversity and pluralism that is a feature of multi-level Europe to be captured within a framework that maximizes the opportunities for mutual learning and exchange across private law sites.
Lucinda Miller is Senior Lecturer in Law at University College London.