The future of European private law
The future of European private law was discussed during a conference that King’s College London organized on 8 February 2019, gathering experts from across the continent and beyond. The purpose of the conference was to explore possible developments of private law within the EU, following the failure of several attempts to harmonise large areas of it. Professor Francisco de Elizalde represented IE University with a paper on the future of contract law.
The withdrawal of the Regulation Proposal for a Common European Sales Law (CESL) in 2014 marked the end of the heyday of the intents to harmonise European private law, after decades of enthusiasm, which included other Commission-backed proposals such as the Principles of European Contract Law (PECL) and the Draft Common Frame of Reference (DCFR). In respect of contracts, this first stage of a modern, unified, European contract law was recently assessed in a book edited by Professor Elizalde (Uniform Rules for European Contract Law? A Critical Assessment, Hart, 2018).
The papers presented at the conference covered a variety of issues, including the challenges that technology poses to private law. In general, attendants were supportive of the role of the EU in private law and of a certain level of harmonisation in Europe.
However, discrepancies emerged concerning the meaning and scope of EU private law. To this respect, some scholars understand that EU private law is of regulatory nature, sector-specific, with a lack of overall coherence that impedes uniform rules.
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