Conference on European Contract Law: A Law-and-Economics Perspective

Friday, April 27, 2012 - 8:30am - Saturday, April 28, 2012 - 2:00pm

The movement to harmonize European contract law generated various proposals for uniform statutes and optional instruments, culminating by the recent Draft Common European Sales Law. This ambitious reform envisions a uniform Sales Law for Europe with strong consumer protections, enacted by every member nation. Transactors will be able to choose this law to govern their transaction in place of existing contract law.

The Chicago conference brings together a group of leading scholars from Europe and from the University of Chicago, exploring the law and economics perspectives of the proposed harmonization. Is such an optional statute a desirable regulatory tool? What economic goals might it serve? Are the protections enacted in it suitable? What can be learned from the American experience with uniform commercial laws?

The conference will be hosted by the Institute for Law and Economics at the University of Chicago Law School and will take place on Friday and Saturday, April 27-28, 2012, in Chicago. It is open to the public and attendance is free. Please contact Marjorie Holme ( for more details.

The conference will be published in the Common Market Law Review (2013).

Conference Schedule

Conference Program

Thomas Ackermann, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich
Public Supply of Optional Standardized Consumer Contracts: A Rationale for the Common European Sales Law?

Douglas Baird, University of Chicago Law School
Precontractual Disclosure Duties under the Common European Sales Law

Omri Ben-Shahar, University of Chicago Law School, and Oren Bar-Gill, New York University Law School
Regulatory Techniques in Consumer Protection: A Critique of the Common European Sales Law

Lisa Bernstein, University of Chicago Law School
An (Un) Common Frame of Reference: An American Perspective on the Jurisprudence of the CESL

Fabrizio Cafaggi, European University Institute, Florence
CESL and Precontractual Liability: From a Status to a Transaction-Based Approach?

Horst Eidenmuller, University of Munich
What Can Be Wrong with an Option? The Proposal for an Optional Common European Sales Law

Richard Epstein, New York University Law School, Hoover Institution, University of Chicago Law School
Harmonization, Heterogeneity, and Regulation: Why the Common European Sales Law Should Be Scrapped

Fernando Gomez, Universidad Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona
Optional Law for Firms and Consumers: An Economic Analysis of Opting into the Common European Sales Law

Stefan Grundmann, Humboldt Universitat, Berlin
Costs and Benefits of an Optional European Sales Law (CESL)

William Hubbard, University of Chicago Law School
Another Look at the Eurobarometer Contract Law Survey Data

Saul Levmore, University of Chicago Law School
Harmonization, Preferences, and the Calculus of Consent in Commercial and Other Law

Chantal Mak
In Defence of CESL

Ariel Porat, University of Chicago Law School and Tel Aviv Law School
Mistake under the Common European Sales Law

Eric Posner, University of Chicago Law School
The Questionable Basis of the Common European Sales Law: The Role of an Optional Instrument in Jurisdictional Competition

Jan Smits, Maastricht University
The Common European Sales Law and Party Choice: When Will Parties Choose the Proposed CESL?

Gerhard Wagner, Universitat Bonn
Buyers' Remedies under the CESL: Rejection, Rescission, and the Seller's Right to Cure

Simon Whittaker, Oxford University
Identifying Legal Costs of the Operation of the Common European Sales Law:  Legal Framework, Scope of the Uniform Law and National Judicial Evaluations

schedule brochure1.pdf

Omri Ben-Shahar