Mateusz Grochowski, ‘Lost in transition? Freedom of Contract in Poland and the Central European Experience’

The present foundations of contract law in Central Europe developed in a compound way, under a constant ‘center’-‘peripheries’ tension. In the 20th century most countries in the region followed a similar way of evolution. This originated in the free-market approach with a strongly liberal dimension in the inter-war period, proceeded through radical denial of party autonomy under the post-war socialist regime and was concluded with the revival of the laissez-faire concept in early 1990s. A pivotal element of this development was the concept of freedom of contract, perceived in a symbolic way, as a manifestation of market libertarianism. The paper analyzes the main threads of this development, adopting Polish law as the vantage point. It attempts to draft focal premises of the intellectual history of freedom of contract in Polish law. It draws attention both to specific features of the Polish attitude towards this concept, as well as seeking to identify common denominators for Central European contract law. In doing so, the paper attempts to locate the development of Polish contract law against the backdrop of the ‘center’-‘peripheries’ dynamic and to reach a preliminary understanding of the extent to which the Polish concept of freedom of contract bears certain mainstream or particular features

Mateusz Grochowski, Lost in transition? Freedom of Contract in Poland and the Central European Experience. EUI Working Paper MWP 2020/08, Max Weber Programme (July 2020).

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