Research Handbook on EU Consumer and Contract Law
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Research Handbook on EU Consumer and Contract Law

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.
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Chapter 13: Unfair contract terms

Peter Rott


Standard terms are a familiar topic in consumer law and in contract law in general. Member State courts had dealt with them using concepts of general consumer law, such as immorality or good faith, and national legislators had adopted specific laws regulating standard terms, often but not necessarily limited to the business-to-consumer relationship. At EU level, standard terms have been regulated by the Unfair Contract Terms Directive 93/13/EEC(Section B). That Directive is, however, incomplete in that it does not touch on the incorporation of standard terms, and the rules on incorporation differ slightly between Member States. It also does not set absolute standards but allows Member States to adopt or maintain more stringent rules related to the protection of consumers (Article 8), and many Member States indeed provide for increased consumer protection in this area. In its 2008 Proposal for a Directive on Consumer Rights, the EU Commission made an attempt to fully harmonise control of unfair contract terms in consumer contracts but failed. A further attempt was made with Chapter 8 of the proposed Common European Sales Lawthat would have included, amongst other things, a black list and grey list of unfair contract terms, but it has been withdrawn by the European Commission (Section C).

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