Chapter 11: Fundamental Rights in Private Law: Anchors or Goals in a Globalizing Legal Order?
Siewert Lindenbergh* 1 HUMAN RIGHTS IN PRIVATE LAW Is a woman who has at the age of 21 signed for possible future debts of her father liable for these debts, even if this inevitably leads to a heavy lifelong burden? Can an employer of an employee who appears seven months pregnant on the day she returns from her parental leave revoke his consent with her early return? Can a taxi company argue successfully against a passenger who suffers severe injuries due to a taxi driver’s fault that his liability is limited by law to an amount of 137 000 euros, while the loss amounts to a tenfold? Does a property developer who leaves his land unused for years lose his property to farming neighbours due to limitation? These questions can be regarded as the most classical issues in private law. Does a given promise bind under all circumstances? Under which circumstances does fraud or deceit lead to annulment of an agreement? Do statutory rules bind parties in a contract? And what are the consequences of not exercising property rights for a long period of time? All modern jurisdictions, be it with a common law tradition or a civil law tradition or with a combination of the two, have private law rules that are, no doubt, able to regulate these issues. Yet, the above examples have in common that they deal with essential values for the development of one’s personality: financial independence, equal treatment of women and men, compensation of personal...
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