Contract and Regulation
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Contract and Regulation

A Handbook on New Methods of Law Making in Private Law

Edited by Roger Brownsword, Rob A.J. van Gestel and Hans-W. Micklitz

Contract and Regulation: A Handbook on New Methods of Law Making in Private Law sheds light on the darker side of contracts. It begins by exploring the ‘regulatory space’ in which projects are planned, deals are done, and goods and services are consumed, then shows how a ‘bottom-up’ approach can be adopted in order to view this transactional space through the eyes of contractors. The expert contributors explore modes of governance that do not fit nicely into traditional contract theory, paying special attention to three key examples: governance and codes of conduction, networks and relations, compliance and use.
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Chapter 2: Corporate codes of conduct and contract law: a doctrinal and normative perspective

Anna Beckers

Abstract

This chapter focuses specifically on corporate social responsibility codes of conduct and argues that they can be described as a phenomenon of genuine regulation initiated by corporations. As a consequence, private law as the applicable legal framework itself needs to become more regulatory. The chapter starts by proffering an explanation of why corporate codes have only recently started to interest contract law scholars. It continues analysing the way in which corporations use (and do not use) contracts and contract law in developing and practising their codes, and how contract law doctrine perceives this strategy. Subsequently, a normative argument is developed and contextualized in favour of a stronger role for contract law in enforcing and regulating corporate codes. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the need for contract law to become regulatory in a novel sense: contract law needs to be responsive to codes of conduct, specifying clear rights and obligations that corporate regulators assume when developing a code of conduct. Keywords: Corporate social responsibility, codes of conduct, contract law, Varieties of Capitalism, contract governance

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