Book Review: Principles of European Contract Law: Parts I and II. Edited by Ole Lando and Hugh Beale. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Kluwer Law International, 2000. 561 Pages.

6 Colum. J. Eur. L. 395 (2000)

reviewed by Virginia Tent.


Recognizing the need for a general European contract law analogous to the United States’ Uniform Commercial Code and Restatement of the Law of Contract, the Commission on European Contract Law (1981-1990) and the Second Commission on European Contract Law (1992-1996) have begun the distillation and creation of such a set of rules and principles. Not only are these principles particularly relevant and useful for intra-European Union contracts for trade, investment and employment, but they may also provide a progressive and occasionally normative foundation for contract law in Eastern Europe and other states that are constructing a modem commercial legal framework. Moreover, in the event that the European Union should ultimately harmonize contract law among its member states, the Commission’s Principles of European Contract Law: Parts I and 11 (“Principles”) is well-positioned to fill the supra-national gap between the varying traditions of common and civil law.’


In 1974, Ole Lando of the Copenhagen Business School first suggested that a common legal framework for contracts would facilitate the fuller integration of European markets. Out of his preliminary conversations at a symposium in Copenhagen and further conversations among European legal scholars grew the Commission on European Contract Law. The Commission consisted of scholars from each Member State of the European Union who brought with them expertise on their disparate national systems of contract law. Likewise, the Second Commission on European Contract Law formed in 1992 to expand the principles laid out by the first Commission? Working together along with the sponsorship of the Commission of the European Union, private European companies, and universities, the scholars sifted through the various national contract laws as well as the United States’ Restatements and Uniform Commercial Code to cull the elements of a legally effective and economically efficient unified basis for European contracts, improvising where they deemed it advisable.