Anna Beckers, ‘Taking Corporate Codes Seriously’ – PhD defense, 16 October 2014

Anna Beckers, one of the MEPLI PhD candidates within the UM-HiiL Chair on the Internationalisation of Law will defend her research on voluntary corporate codes and their private law enforcement. Anna is the first PhD candidate in the UM-HiiL project to defend her findings. You can find out more about Anna’s research here.


CBS 10815 Proefschrift Anna Beckers_Uitnodiging

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Registration open for ‘200 Years Savigny and Thibaut: The Codification Debate Revisited’ (MEPLI Round Table, 10 October 2014)


We already wrote about the next Round Table that MEPLI will host in Maastricht on 10 October.

Registration is now open via this link, where you can also find more information about the location as well as the programme of the event.



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‘Setting the contract aside’ – Shanghai, 22 August (brief review)


A rather numerous MEPLI delegation attended the workshop “Setting the Contract Aside: Comparative Perspectives”, taking place at the East China University of Politics and Law on Friday 22 August. The workshop focused on mapping the different remedies that are available in contracts challenged by defects of consent in various jurisdictions, both European and Chinese, and it was designed to encourage comparative discussions.

The list of presentations: Xuxu He – Avoidance for mistake and misrepresentation; Catalina Goanta – Unfair contract terms in European private law; Jiangqiu Ge – Undue influence in China; William Bull – Undue influence in European law; Keke Jin – Legal Capacity in Chinese law; Jan Smits – Avoidance for legal incapacity; Wenjie Zhao – The right of withdrawal and its problems in China; Mark Kawakami – On withdrawal rights; Willem Loof – The termination paradox. Some interesting points drawn from the discussions: the proximity of Chinese private law to German law leading to similarities with European jurisdictions; the question of whether mandatory consumer rights are necessary in Europe and China; the English underpinnings of some Chinese defects of consent (e.g. misrepresentation, undue influence, etc.).

The conclusion, in the words of Jan Smits: “Perhaps we have more in common than we thought – the Chinese and the European approaches seem to be very similar.”

More photos from the event are available on MEPLI’s Facebook page.

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Setting the Contract Aside: Comparative Perspectives – Shanghai, 22 August 2014


Setting the Contract Aside: Comparative Perspectives

The aim of this workshop is to take stock of the different ways in which a contract can be set aside. Different legal doctrines exist to help a ‘disappointed’ party. These doctrines range from the age-old mistake and misrepresentation and incapacity to newer techniques such as avoidance for undue influence and withdrawal rights. The topic has regained importance as a result of the recent enactment of the new Chinese Consumer Code (in China) and the consolidation of consumer rights in the new Consumer rights directive (in Europe). On the background is the lingering tension between contractual autonomy and protection of a supposedly weaker party. At this one-day workshop, colleagues from both China and Europe will discuss present developments. Each session consists of 20 minutes per speaker, followed by 20 minutes of discussion.

The workshop is organised by the Maastricht European Private Law Institute (M-EPLI) in cooperation with East China University of Politics and Law (ECUPL).

(Shanghai, Friday 22 August 2014; No. 4 Conference Room, Jiaoyi Building; No. 1575, Wanhangdu Road, East China University of Politics and Law)

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On codification in the 21st century and contractual terrorism



Jan Smits and I recently attended a conference (‘Reforms regarding the consolidation of the rule of law in European countries’, 5-6 June 2014) at the ‘Lucian Blaga’ University of Sibiu, having been invited there by one of MEPLI’s visiting researchers we were happy to host in Maastricht last year, Sebastian Spinei. The conference was organized under the umbrella of the Association of Latin Law Faculties (link in Romanian) and brought together a wide array of specialists from Italy (Elena Ioriatti – Universita di Giurisprudenza di Trento), France (Guillaume Le Floch – Université  de Rennes), Spain (Maria Salas Porras, Juan José Hinojosa Torralvo, Antonio Márquez Prieto, Rocio Caro Gandara – Universidad de Málaga), Germany (Francisca Sanchez del Hierro, Arnold Rainer – University of Regensburg), the Czech Republic (Pavel Klima – University of Prague) and of course Romania (e.g. Cãlina Jugastru, Ioan Leş, Sebastian Spinei – ‘Lucian Blaga’ University of Sibiu; other universities were also represented).

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M-EPLI Talk with Anna Beckers, Nicole Kornet, and Pim Oosterhuis on regulation in commercial law- ‘A Multidimensional System’

On 23 October 2013, M-EPLI fellows Anna Beckers, Nicole Kornet, and Pim Oosterhuis delivered a M-EPLI Talk entitled ‘A Multidimensional System of Commercial Law’.            In the presentation, the three fellows first touched upon the current regulatory landscape in commercial law and subsequently offered their view on how commercial law should be regulated (if at all).

The current state in commercial law can be described as one of a multidimensional regulation. There is regulation on global level, such as the Unidroit Principles or the Convention on the International Sale of Goods; regulation on European level, examples being the Commercial Agent Directive or the proposed Common European Sales Law. Furthermore, commercial law is regulated on national level, usually in the form of civil and/or commercial codes (e.g. French Code de commerce, German BGB, UK’s Sale of Goods Act 1979, etc.). One must also not forget about the relevance of private self-regulation, such as the INCOTERMS or UCP 600; and last but not least there is the regulation in commercial relationships between private parties in the form of contracts.

In order to present their view of how regulation in commercial law should work, Anna, Nicole and Pim provided two basic assumptions, upon which their criterion of when and how a commercial relationship should be regulated is subsequently based: first, commercial law facilitates the exchange of goods and services; and second, this facilitation of goods and services can be best achieved by means of party autonomy. Hence, a criterion is that commercial law should facilitate the exercise of party autonomy and enforce agreements between private actors. It therefore means that further regulation is needed in cases where either private actors jeopardize the exercise of party autonomy (e.g. by fraud) or where party autonomy can have negative effects on the market or on society.

Anna, Nicole and Pim further claim that regulation in commercial law can also be viewed as a system consisting of three interconnected, but to a certain extent individual, criterions, which in the end determine whether and what kind of regulation is needed. These criterions are actors, level and form. The first criterion (Actors) determines who should regulate, i.e. whether private actors, such as contracting parties, or rather public actors, such as national legislator, are best able to protect the relevant interest. The second criterion (Level), defines at what level should regulation take place, this being global, regional, national, local, etc., depending on the interest to be regulated, the relevant market and society. The final criterion (Form) then depends on the choice of the relevant actor and relevant level and determines the form this regulation in commercial law should take. A distinction was made between regulatory forms of convention, supranational legislation (e.g. EU Regulation), national legislation, optional instruments, model contracts, etc.

A more extended version of this debate will be included in an upcoming MEPLI publication.






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