Table of Contents

Research Handbook on EU Consumer and Contract Law

Research Handbook on EU Consumer and Contract Law

Research Handbooks in European Law series

Edited by Christian Twigg-Flesner

Research Handbook on EU Consumer and Contract Law takes stock of the evolution of this fascinating area of private law to date and identifies key themes for future development of the law and research agendas. The Handbook is divided into three parts: first, authors examine a range of cross-cutting issues relevant to both consumer and contract law. The second part discusses specific topics on EU Consumer Law, and the final part focuses on a number of important subjects which remain current for the development of EU Contract Law.

Chapter 21: Standard contract terms as an alternative to legislation

Giuditta Cordero-Moss

Subjects: law - academic, consumer law, european law, law of obligations


Contract drafting has become rather standardised in the past decades. In an effort to achieve efficiency in drafting, negotiating and implementing contracts, standardisation of the wording may seem a rational means: a party does not need to develop new contract terms every time it formalises a deal, the other party will recognise the terms from previous deals and will not need to analyse them again, negotiations will be reduced to matters specific to that particular deal (such as price, quality and quantity of the goods), and past experience with similar terms will be helpful in interpreting the contract and ascertaining its effects during implementation. This goal of efficiency lead to the development of standard contracts of various types. A company which repeatedly enters into certain types of contract may have developed its own standard conditions, which it will seek to apply in all its relationships – for example, conditions of purchase for its raw material procurement and conditions of sale for the sale of its products. A trade association may develop standard terms to be used by its members – for example, an association of real estate agencies may offer its members a standard contract for the sale of real estate. Common to both these types of standard contracts is that they are designed to protect the interests of one specific party to the relationship, the one who developed the terms.

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