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 24: The future of contract law in Europe

Jan M Smits


The aim of this chapter is to reflect upon the future of contract law in Europe. This is no easy task. Answering the question how contract law in the European Union is likely to develop in the coming decades would require insight into economic, political and societal developments that are hard to predict. If history teaches us anything, it is that looking into the future will always be speculative. Having said this, it surely does not mean that it is impossible to say anything about the possible future role of contract law in the EU (and beyond). There is a long-standing practice in social sciences, economics and business to try to anticipate the future, giving rise to a field of study generally referred to as 'futurology'. Legal academics also increasingly reflect upon 'the law of the future'. They tend to do so by way of shaping alternative futures (often called scenarios), leaving it to the reader to decide which future is the most likely one to occur. In the following, it is both investigated how substantive contract law may be affected by future developments and how the place of contract law in society as a whole may change. The first aspect is about the contract law of the future, the second about the future of contract law. It must be added that many trends could in this respect be taken into consideration.

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