European Contract Law and Multi-Level Europe

Lucinda Miller

in The Emergence of EU Contract Law

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606627
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731716 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in European Law

European Contract Law and Multi-Level Europe

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This chapter highlights the multi-level architecture in which contract law operates in Europe and makes a plea for this governance structure to be taken far from seriously in the design of European contract law. The chapter introduces the general theme of multi-level governance before analysing the interaction between national and European levels of governance. It then examines the additional normative layers - international and Lex Mercatoria – in order to reveal the complex, fluid, interlocking and heterarchical European legal space. Normative pluralism emerges as an inevitable feature in private law making it essential that the EU conditions its private law programme to this plural reality. However, the Commission’s ability to respond to the legal environment is hampered by methodological nationalism. In addition, the national jurist has often responded inadequately to the post-national challenge of multi-level governance, basing resistance to European harmonisation on inappropriate, nationally-tied notions of coherence and culture.

Keywords: Multi-level governance; lex mercatoria; methodological nationalism; coherence; culture; normative pluralism; interaction; post-national; heterarchy

Chapter.  15344 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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