Workshop on “Optional Instruments of the European Union: A Desirable Method of Regulating Diverse Areas of European Private Law?”



OI in the EU




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William A. Bull’s PhD Defense on “Optional Instruments of the EU”

WAB PhD Defense Invitation


  • Maastricht University – Minederbroedersberg (Aula)
  • 12 May 2016 at 14:00

Summary of the Thesis:

This rise of a particular kind of European Union legislation known as the ‘optional instrument’ is a novel trend in the context of EU law, and one that until now has not been comprehensively mapped or explored. This study examines and discusses existing and proposed EU Optional Instruments (OIs) in different fields of European law, including company law, intellectual property law and procedural law (such as the European Company, the Community Trade Mark and the European Small Claims Procedure, respectively), as well as contract law. The study identifies the core elements that define Optional Instruments of the EU and distinguish them from other kinds of EU legislation, especially so-called approximating measures. It provides a detailed overview of a total of twelve OIs in the aforementioned policy areas, charting their development, characteristics and (where appropriate) usage in practice. It investigates the case for and against the use of optional instruments as an alternative means of EU law-making, by analyzing and evaluating the principal arguments in the debate surrounding the use of this legislative method. Finally, it offers an explanation of the varied degree of ‘success’ of EU OIs already in existence, by identifying possible factors that play a role in this respect and testing the significance of these factors with reference to available empirical data. In doing so, the author provides a framework for future research into this developing phenomenon, as well as guidance for the elaboration of future Optional Instruments of the European Union.

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The Increasing Tension Between the Sharing Economy and Worker’s Rights: Law in an “Uberized” Economy


Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 04.18.30.pngAfter the most recent round of funding, the company behind the ride-sharing app, Uber, is now valued at over $50 billion, beating Facebook in the process to set a new valuation record for private, venture-backed startups.[1] While this news illustrates the strength of and the potential behind the sharing economy, the valuation also comes as a bit of a surprise given the number of legal battles that Uber is currently embroiled in around the globe.

For what it is worth, an unfinished section of my draft PhD thesis touches upon some of these legal battles so for the sake of soliciting some comments and possibly crowdsourcing the editing process, I am throwing out a tiny chunk of my unpublished draft here for your review.

Apologies in advance!

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How Do You Make Companies “Good”? Spank Them Less!

I was a little troublemaker in my more youthful days, and while I will spare the details here, suffice it to say that I have been on the receiving end of some good old fashion punishments (some corporal, some less biblical). As a result, from a relatively young age, I intuitively understood the concept of punishment as a mechanism to deter bad behavior. Psychologist B.F. Skinner refers to this as “operant conditioning”.[1] Operant conditioning – very generally speaking – is a method of behavior modification where good behavior is rewarded with positive reinforcements and bad behavior is punished through negative reinforcements.

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MEPLI Presents Its “Law after Dark” Series with an Inaugural Talk by Stephen Bogle

Who: Stephen Bogle (MA, LLB, Dip LP, LLM, Solicitor)

s200_stephen.bogleStephen Bogle is a lecturer in Private Law at the University of Glasgow and a PhD Researcher at the University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on the emergence of a will theory of contract in Scotland, looking at how theology and natural law philosophy interacted with legal development in Scotland during the seventeenth century. Stephen’s research also touches upon obligations, including, but not limited to contract theory, legal history, and contemporary issues in consumer and commercial law.

Stephen graduated from the University of Edinburgh MA (Hons) (Mental Philosophy) (2005), the University of Strathclyde LL.B (Ordinary) (2007), the Glasgow Graduate School of Law Dip LP (2008), and the University of Edinburgh LLM by Research (Distinction) (2012). Stephen is also a qualified solicitor having trained at Maclay Murray & Spens LLP between 2008 and 2010.

What: Talk by Stephen on “Fairness, Just Price & Complex Markets: Lessons from Sir David Dalrymple’s Pamphlet Circa 1720”, followed by an open discussion with those in attendance. Drinks and snacks will be served.

When: 14 May 2015 (6:00pm – 8:00pm) [Please be advised that this is the first day of Ascension, which means that the Faculty of Law will be closed].

Where: Conference Room of the Café Tribunal (Tongersestraat 1, 6211 LL Maastricht).

How: If you are interested in attending this talk, email Mark Kawakami at: Please keep in mind that space will be limited.

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