Monday, 24 February 2014

United in diversity

Different views on the Common European Sales Law, which will be the subject of European parliamentary debate and a vote this week, may be related to ideas about to what extent a common culture underlies legal harmonisation projects in the EU. A collection of essays on this topic, edited by Kai Purnhagen and Geneviève Helleringer and based on a conference they organised in December 2011 (on which we posted earlier, 'For no man is an island'), has just been published. It takes the following perspective:

'European harmonisation efforts such as a European civil code, European constitutional treaties, European principles, and European fundamental rights are frequently criticised for building on or creating a European legal culture that does not exist; in reality what we have is European legal pluralism. Some have argued that the pluralistic structure of European law hinders the development of a community, which is a necessary requirement for a European legal culture. And if there can be no common European legal culture then there is no basis for harmonising exercises. 

The contributors to this book explore in different legal areas whether in fact the contrary is true. Cultural pluralism might indeed be a distinctive feature of European legal culture. Diversity is not something that is in opposition to, but rather constitutes a new, different understanding of European legal culture. The contributions demonstrate in detail how such an approach inter alia in the areas of private, corporate, administrative and constitutional law furthers understanding of a developing European legal culture, how it offers theoretical and doctrinal insights, and how it adds critical perspective.'

More information and a table of contents is available on the publisher's website.

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