Law Society shares Government concerns about Common European Sales Law

The Law Society has echoed Government concerns about the proposal for a Common European Sales Law.

The Government this week published its response to its call for evidence on the proposal for an optional Common European Sales Law to govern sales contracts. The response outlined that, while the Government supports efforts to strengthen the functioning of the Single Market and to drive growth, it did not feel able to support the proposal due to a range of concerns expressed in its consultation process.

Law Society Chief Executive Desmond Hudson said:

“The Law Society supports the Government’s position. We considered the proposal for a Common European Sales Law (CESL) carefully and in-depth. Although we support efforts to improve the functioning of the Single Market and to increase trade, we have not been convinced that the proposal will achieve this.

“Solicitors note that there are a range of issues that determine whether or not businesses and consumers will enter into cross-border dealings, including differences in language, VAT rates, and whether it will be possible to obtain practical redress in the case of a problem. The Law Society believes that these are more important issues than differences of national contract law.

“In cross-border dealings the laws in relation to a range of issues other than contract law, such as property law and tort law, may be equally important. If businesses were to adopt a CESL contract they would have to consider national laws. It is unlikely that the proposed CESL would be self-standing even from a contract law perspective, leading to inevitable confusion. A CESL would have no underlying jurisprudence and practitioners are concerned that this would lead to uncertainty as to how it would be interpreted and applied and the costs associated with this.

“Current discussions are nevertheless continuing in the European institutions. While the Law Society will continue to express any concerns, we remain ready and willing to work with policymakers to better serve the public interest.”

14 November 2012

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