Common European Sales Law: Does It Make Common Sense?

Author:Mr John O'Connor, Yvonne Cunnane and Andreas Carney
Profession:Matheson Ormsby Prentice

On 11 October 2011, the European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation on a Common European Sales Law ("CESL") which envisages creating an optional set of uniform European contract law rules which would operate in parallel with each EU Member States' national contract law. The main thrust behind the proposal is to help increase the cross-border sale of goods and services related thereto while at the same time allowing Member States the option to permit the use of the CESL in domestic business-to-consumer and business-to-business transactions. It is the European Commission's position that differences in contract law between Member States are a major obstacle to further integration of the EU Single Market as such differences make it more complicated and costly for parties wishing to enter into cross-border contracts for goods, particularly small businesses. The European Commission advances the argument that by removing this impediment cross-border trade would substantially increase and such increase would help drive down consumer prices by creating greater competition between traders. Proponents of the CESL appear reluctant to acknowledge the fact that uniform contract codes are already available to EU traders and non-EU traders (eg, the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods) and there is nothing to suggest that having an option to use a uniform...

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