We like to think that sales law is technical. The presumption that it is
possible to draft a Civil Code without making ideological choices - and that
codification can be regarded as essentially technical - would appear to be the
leading view. This book investigates the political stakes involved in the
drafting of private law, more particularly in the drafting a European contract
law. As is demonstrated by this original and powerful book, the drafting of
private law - sales law in particular - cannot be considered apolitical or
The author focuses on the politics involved in the development of a European
contract law. He investigates the choices made in the European project, based
on a comparative, political and historical analysis of the process. The book
assesses in detail the outcomes of, and experiences in, four other legislative
processes in the area of sales law those preceding the adoption of the
American Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), the Vienna Sales Convention (CISG),
the Dutch Civil Code (BW) and the Directive on Consumer Sales and Associated
Guarantees (European Consumer Sales Directive).
Many crucially important issues rise to the surface of debate in the process
of this analysis, including the following:
• the roles of scholars, interest groups, and constituency factors in
• the conception of technicality of legal doctrine; • the use of policy
argument based on the premise of its neutrality;
• movements or rule alternatives along continuums of altruism/ individualism
and buyer/seller interests.
• the development of the provisions on scope, the possibility to derogate,
distribution of liability and remedies during the legislative processes of
five instruments of sales law; and
• transparency in legislative processes.
Rather than having a reformist agenda, the author’s intent is to contribute to
the understanding of the political stakes in legislative processes, and in the
area of sales law in particular. In offering those involved in the
‘Europeanisation’ of private law an alternative view to the received
understanding, this book provides ample evidence that the development of sales
law is politics and argues that the organisation of the drafting process of
European private law may lead to results inconsistent with the project’s
Acknowledgements. List of Abbreviations. 1. Introduction. 2.
Analytical Framework. 3. The Uniform Commercial Code. 4. The
Vienna Sales Convention. 5. The New Dutch Civil Code. 6. The
Consumer Sales Directive and the DCFR. 7. Comparing the Processes.
Epilogue: The Politics of European Sales Law. Table of Authorities and