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4 September 2013

A Common European Sales Law (CESL) for e-commerce?

ERA conference to discuss the structure and scope of the proposed CESL Regulation


Foto: A Common European Sales Law (CESL) for e-commerce?.


Trade across borders is complicated by the existence of 28 different contract laws in the Member States. Often, retailers refuse to deliver goods to other Member States. The proposed CESL would allow retailers to sell their products on the basis of a single set of contract rules to be implemented alongside Member States’ contract laws. The conference “A Common European Sales Law (CESL) for e-commerce?” organised by ERA on 12-13 September 2013 in Trier will discuss the content and scope of this highly controversial proposal with stakeholders, academics and practitioners.

In October 2011, the European Commission published a proposal for a CESL designed to facilitate the sale of goods and services across borders, especially for small and medium-sized companies. The proposed Regulation is intended to cut costs and provide legal certainty for traders and consumers. Under the new Regulation, traders would have the choice to apply this parallel European contract law instead of national rules. If offered by the retailer, consumers would be able to choose the new CESL, which also includes provisions on consumer protection and remedies.

The proposed Regulation is, however, highly disputed among online retailers and consumer organisations who argue that the introduction of the parallel CESL would be confusing for consumers and would increase legal complexity and costs for retailers. In July, the European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection refused to support the proposed CESL and proposed to continue harmonising EU consumer contract law transforming the Regulation into a Directive. The Legal Affairs Committee, which is in charge of the issue, plans to vote on the proposal in mid-September. According to the view of the rapporteurs of this Committee, CESL offers huge potential advantages for consumers and businesses, in particular in the digital era.

At this crucial stage, the conference offers a platform to discuss the main issues of the debate with stakeholders and practitioners. Catherine Kessedjian, Professor at the University of Paris II Panthéon-Assas, Ursula Pachl, Deputy Director General of BEUC, and Pedro Oliveira, Legal Affairs Adviser at BUSINESSEUROPE, will discuss obligations and remedies under the proposed CESL.

The impressive list of speakers also includes representatives from the European Parliament (Klaus-Heiner Lehne MEP, Chair of the Committee on Legal Affairs), the European Commission (Professor Dirk Staudenmayer, Head of the Contract Law Unit at DG Justice) and the Lithuanian EU Presidency (Danguole Bubliene, Advocate at Baltic Legal Solutions, Vilnius).

Click here for more information about the conference.

Professional journalists may participate free of charge. To register as a journalist please contact Benjamin Koltermann.

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