Chapter

Legislative Control of Fairness: The Directive on Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts

Hugh Beale

in Good Faith and Fault in Contract Law

Published in print August 1997 | ISBN: 9780198265788
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682964 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198265788.003.0009
Legislative Control of Fairness: The Directive on Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts

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This chapter deals with the topic that has assumed major importance in modern contract law, namely legislative control of unfairness. It discusses the difficulties raised by standard contracts and argues that usually the issue is not unconscionable behaviour but unfair surprise and lack of choice. It analyses the provisions of the United Kingdom's Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, as well as the European Commission's Directive on Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts and its possible impact on English law. In this context, the chapter discusses the conceptual problem raised by the Directive's test of unfairness, which is based, inter alia, on the concept of good faith. It also points to the need to face up to the phenomenon of mass contracting and welcomes the fact that the Directive enables and welcomes collective action by consumer organizations while expressing disappointment with its substantive requirements.

Keywords: contract law; unfairness; unfair contract; directive; unfair terms; consumer contracts; English law; good faith; mass contracting

Chapter.  14783 words. 

Subjects: Civil Law

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