The Many Concepts of Social Justice in European Private Law
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The Many Concepts of Social Justice in European Private Law

Edited by Hans-W. Micklitz

This insightful book, with contributions from leading international scholars, examines the European model of social justice in private law that has developed over the 20th century.
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Chapter 13: The Europeanization of Social Justice and the Judiciary: How Will Judges React in the EU Member States?

Arthur Dyevre


Arthur Dyevre If social justice is about protecting the weaker party in contractual relationships – whether the employee or the consumer – then there are indeed some signs of tension between the market-driven logic of EU law and the conception of social justice embedded in the law of the club’s member countries. The jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) appears to be the latest flashpoint. In a string of rulings that have proved highly controversial, the Court seemed to challenge long-standing social and labour policies that are at the heart of the continent’s social model. The Court’s radical interpretation of the freedoms of establishment and service delivery in its Viking,1 Laval,2 Rüffert3 and Luxembourg4 decisions have brought back fears of a race to the bottom and caused consternation on the left as well as in union circles (Reich 2008; Scharpf 2009: 191–2; Adrián Arnáiz 2008 Dehousse 2008; Höpner 2009; Blanpain and Swiatkowski 2009; Erdmenger et al. 2009; Mayer 2009; Schulz 2009). 1 Judgment of 11 December 2007, Case C-438/05, International Transport Worker’s Federation and Finnish Seamen’s Union v. Viking Line ABP. (Holding a strike against a Finnish employer that had tried to reflag its ferry as an Estonian vessel a violation of the company’s freedom of establishment.) 2 Decision of 18 December 2007, C-341/05, Laval un Partneri Ltd v. Svenska Byggnadsarbetareförbundet. (Ruling an industrial action, aimed at forcing a Latvian company building a school on Swedish soil to abide by a collective...

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