The aim of this piece is to draw the attention of the debate on principles in European private law to an institutional question. As the question of who detects these principles is crucial to understand the values and intentions behind the provisions on principles, I turn to the significance of the authority question of who detects principles of European Private law with regard to the two players ECJ and the academic circle ‘Joint Network on European law’. After analysing the role of these players I will ask whether private law principles (which are principles derived from the analysis of contractual relationships by academics) or principles of civil law (derived from conflict solution by judges) govern the principles debate in European Private law. I will argue for a pluralistic understanding of European Private law, where neither academia nor the ECJ enjoy a monopoly on the detection of principles in European Private law. Instead, they form a symbiotic relationship in several respects. Understood in this way, the DCFR’s role as a toolbox for the legislator is supplemented with its maybe even stronger significance as a toolbox for judges.
Kai Purnhagen, ‘Principles of European Private or Civil Law?‘. European Law Journal, Volume 18, Issue 6, pages 844–867, November 2012. First published online: 22 NOV 2012. DOI: 10.1111/eulj.12006.