Volume 50 (2013)

Volume 50 (2013) / Issue 1/2

Thomas Ackermann, 'Public supply of optional standardized consumer contracts: A rationale for the Common European Sales Law?' (2013) 50 Common Market Law Review, Issue 1/2, pp. 11–27

Abstract

Byreadingthe B2C partofthe Common European Sales Law (CESL) as a supplyof optional standardizedcontracts, thisarticletriestogivetheCommission'sproposalthebestpossible rationale. In contrasttoconventionalcontractcodescharacterizedbyloosebundlesofdefaultrulesthepartiesmayselectively stick toordivergefrom, an optional standardizedcontractis a tightbundleofdefaultruleswith a nameattachedto it. As optional standardizedcontractsaresimplyidentifiablebytheirlabel, theycantheoreticallysolvetheproblemofreadingcostsandthusavoidadverseselection. This ideahelpstomake sense ofthe rigid internalstructureofthe CESL thatgenerallyexcludescherry-picking. Fromthisperspective, itis also unobjectionableforthe CESL toaimat an upscalesegmentofconsumersbyoffering a high levelofprotection (leadingtocorrespondingly high prices). However, welfare-increasingeffectscanonlybeexpectedif Member States, third States and private organizationsareallowedtojointhecompetitionbyprovidingotherstandardizedcontracts. As theregulatoryframeworkcreatedbythe EU (choice-of-lawrestrictionforconsumercontractsandsubstantiveharmonizationof Member State laws) ties down all potential competitors, theseeffectswill not materialize. This leadstotheconclusionthattheCommissionis not seriouslypursuingtheideaof an optional law, but ultimatelymeanstopre-empt Member States' lawswithitsproposal.

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ISSN: 0165-0750
ID: COLA2013034