The need for a more consistent and coherent European contract law is a current priority of the EC institutions. Despite decades of pointillistic legal harmonization, cross border transactions within the Internal market of the European Union continue to take place in the shadow of divergent procedural and substantive law rules, differing legal cultures and significant linguistic diversities. Whilst national contract law systems function more or less efficiently internally, it is their partial non-compatibility with other Member States’ private laws that provokes isolated distortions on the market. As a consequence, the European Commission has presented its ‘Common Frame of Reference’ research strategy aimed at fostering common contract law principles, model rules and uniform legal terminology, which, it is believed, will better facilitate commercial actors. The European Parliament has moved a step further by lending institutional credibility to the case for a European civil code. However, this clamour for codification of private laws – an idea premised on two formalisms, legal and economic - has in many respects overlooked the mechanics of modern commercial contracting in particular, the importance of contract drafting and the complex negotiations that lead to deals both domestically and cross border. This paper therefore provides an alternative assessment of the development of a European ius commune, or ‘common law’ of contract, and considers the urgency of improved means of legal information exchange in order to better facilitate the ongoing harmonization effort.
Doris, Martin J.
"The Continued Resonance and Challenge of the “Ius Commune” in Modern European Contract Law,"
International Journal of Legal Information: Vol. 34
, Article 14.
Available at: http://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/ijli/vol34/iss2/14