Maastricht Project on European Private Law

At M-EPLI we are also concerned with education (we call it #MepliED). In this context, like past years, also this year M-EPLI’s William Bull and I are offering our course on European Contract Law to about 150 bachelor students in the form of our Maastricht Project. Our course is a third year (elective) undergraduate course taken by our European Law School students as well as some (brave) exchange students and exclusively focuses on EU private law. We build on the very advanced knowledge our ELS students have on comparative contract law, as well as EU law (both institutional law and EU substantive law).

Last year I reported on this course already where students were combining their own ideal design of a European contract (and some property) law with a modest negotiation simulation, in which students represented the Member States and dealt with the European Commission’s Common European Sales Law (CESL) proposal. This year we upgraded our course so that students now work on course work (a paper) in their study time, but 5 (out of our 7) 2-hour seminars are devoted to a large-scale negotiation simulation in which our students simulate the Council Working party for justice. Students are divided into the Council Presidency, the European Commission, a special institute for law and economics that provides macro-economic and behavioral insights to EU consumer contract law, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany and the Netherlands (based on languages our students understand). Students receive instructions on EU Council negotiations and negotiation techniques from Frank Lavadoux, experienced negotiator and trainer from the European Institute of Public Administration (EIPA).

We are 2 weeks in the simulation and students are struggling with the political choices that were made in CESL. This includes in particular the chapeau rules that deal very creatively with the Rome I Regulation, the restriction of the scope of the Commission’s proposal to contract law only (so no property and tort) and the supplementary role of national law. Without knowing of the complete EU debate on CESL and European private law by academics, they reach very similar conclusions from a more pragmatic point of view.

In the next 5 weeks our students will further investigate the Commission proposal from the Member States’ (and E institution’s) perspectives. On Tuesday 10 June they will hold a full-day final negotiation session, simulation COREPER (the committee of permanent representatives) where they will try to reach political agreement on most of CESL. I will certainly report back on the outcome.

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