Brigitta Lurger

The project of the unification of European contract law involves a number of crucial questions concerning the principal role and function of contract law in our present European societies. These questions have neither been answered nor dealt with sufficiently in the course of the ongoing preparations for the unification of contract law in Europe. One of the most important challenges to our traditional conceptions of contract law is presented by the need to incorporate into the general rules of contract law the meanwhile huge number of contract law norms of protective character, which can be found in various national consumer protection or other statutes as well as in EC directives and EC-block exemption regulations. The author makes detailed suggestions for the incorporation of rights of information, rights of revocation and the control of the contractual fairness into the general rules of contract law. From the new body of protective contract law rules and the open standards of general contract law (good faith, Treu und Glauben, unconscionability, gute Sitten, etc.) the principle of solidarity seems to emerge as a counterprinciple to the principle of freedom of contract. This principle is not restricted to the protection of weaker parties or to the good faith standard. It includes duties of cooperation and loyality and it also applies to general default rules like the rules of breach of contract. The crucial question of where solidarity must end and the freedom to the egotistic pursuit of a party's own interests has to apply can be anwered only in parts by the theories of "Ordoliberalism" and of economic analysis of law. More appropriate concepts like the theory of a "social market" by H. Collins deal with the tasks of contract law on a more general basis by referring to the creation of a desirable society or to valuable ways of life. These latter theories are apt to deal with issues of solidarity, corrective and distributive justice, and the whole spectrum of societal interests implied in contract law.

Cite as: B. Lurger, Prinzipien eines Europäischen Vertragsrechts: Liberal, Marktfunktional, Solidarisch oder ...?', vol. 2.1 ELECTRONIC JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE LAW, (March 1998), <>


1. Die Kluft zwischen dem allgemeinen Vertragsrecht und dem zwingenden sondergesetzlichen Recht zum Schutz einer Vertragspartei und der empfohlene Brückenschlag
2. Das Phänomen der sondergesetzlichen Entwicklungen im Überblick
2.1 Informationspflichten, Werbe- und Verkaufspraktiken
2.2 Widerrufsrechte
2.3 Inhaltliche Eingriffe in den Vertrag
3. Die Vereinbarkeit mit dem allgemeinen Vertragsrecht
4. Die Entwicklung allgemeiner Prinzipien
5. Die Geltung des Prinzips der vertraglichen Solidarität im Recht der Leistungsstörungen
6. Offene Fragen
7. Lösung der offenen Fragen mit dem Ordoliberalismus?
8. Das Markt- und Vertragsmodell von Collins und die distributive Gerechtigkeit
9. Fazit

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