Maastricht European Private Law Blog Writeup of European Contract Law Conference

European Contract Law at the University of Chicago
Jan Smits
Maastricht European Private Law Blog
May 5, 2012

Last week I participated in a conference on European contract law organised by the University of Chicago Law School. It took place under auspices of the new Institute for Law and Economics directed by Omri Ben-Shahar. Naturally, the perspective adopted was to look at contract law in Europe (and in particular at the proposed Common European Sales Law) from an economic perspective. Eight European academics and eight colleagues from Chicago discussed in particular the European Commission’s proposal for a common European sales law. It is wonderful that American colleagues have an interest in the European debate and the Chicago meeting proved to be highly interesting. If I were to summarise the general stance of the American colleagues towards this European initiative, it would be that the CESL is not to be continued. The main reason for this is that the economic case in favour of an optional instrument is weak. In addition, also existing consumer protection by way of directives was heavily attacked. This was in particular clear in the papers of Eric Posner and Richard Epstein.

Eric Posner
Omri Ben-Shahar
Richard A. Epstein