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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Briefings

European Contract Law: Doubling Up

24 October 2011

The European Commission has long hankered after a European contract law. Many years of action plans, of academic investigations, and of reports and resolutions have now led to the first concrete step towards this goal, namely the Commission's proposal for a Common European Sales Law. This is limited in scope to the sale of goods and related matters (financial services are excluded - for now), would be optional only, and would be implemented by the insertion of the Common European Sales Law into national laws alongside, but not as a substitute for, those laws' current sale of goods legislation. If chosen, the Common European Sales Law would trump existing consumer protection laws - lowering the level of protection in some states, raising it in others - which will concern consumer representatives. The quality of the proposed Sales Law will concern everyone. The political and legal path to the implementation of any sales law could be long and bumpy, despite the Commission's wish to complete it within a year.

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