The 2011 Proposal for a Regulation on a Common European Sales Law: A House of Cards? – The Chapeau Rules as Foundations and the Necessary Extensions of the Personal and Territorial Scopes of Application

  • Agatha Rogala

Abstract

The EU has come a long way of various European Contract Law initiatives, consultation rounds with stakeholders and academic and political debates7 to arrive at the 2011 Proposal of the European Parliament and the Council for a Regulation on a Common European Sales Law (the Proposal).8 It is a Proposal for a second regime on the sale of goods which would be optional to opt-into by parties and would exist next to national contract laws of Member States for cross-border sale of goods transactions.9 However, in spite of all of these efforts to achieve a possible future Common European Sales Law, it is striking that most of the work and discussions were solely focused on the substantive rules which are to make up the future European tool.10 Thereby, the equally important chapeau rules, which set out the scopes of application of an instrument, remained largely neglected. The ratione personae (personal scope application) and ratione loci (territorial scope application) of the envisaged instrument constitute an intrinsic part of trying to create an instrument which tackles the barrier to trade consisting of different national contract law regimes. Setting the scopes too narrow (as it is the case in the current Proposal), making limitations on who can make use of the future instrument and in what specific situations, leads to undesirable practical results and ultimately makes the efforts of over two decades being in vain, for the attractiveness of such a Common European Sales Law (CESL) is greatly depreciated. The personal and territorial scopes of application of the Proposal are to be analysed carefully and thoroughly to facilitate the success of the envisaged instrument and achieve the Commission’s aim of enhancing the functioning the Internal Market of the EU. This paper shows that the current Proposal for a CESL is build on such weak ‘foundations’, consisting out of the scopes of application, that there is a very high probability of it collapsing like a house of cards. It will argue that there is a pressing need for an elaborative consideration and revision of the personal and territorial scopes of application by the European legislator in order to guarantee success.

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Published
2013-07-01