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From Multiple Legal Cultures to One Legal Culture? Thinking About Culture, Tradition and Identity in European Private Law Development

By Stephanie Law


This paper begins by briefly outlining private law’s evolution alongside the emergence of the Nation States; it then aims to set out the mutual influence of these concepts on national culture, tradition and identity in order to highlight the significance of the political, economic and legal as well as social and cultural contexts in which the processes of integration and Europeanisation occur. Against this background, the scope for European private law to emerge as a plural, multi-level construct and a dynamic endeavour is recognised. Building on this analysis of the significance of the diversity and commonality of cultures, traditions and identities in national private law development, institutionalised at the Union level in the principle of unitas in diversitate, the paper explores the need for a single, common European notion of culture, tradition or identity. This examination is undertaken with reference to an example, namely the evolution of the concept of consumer, from its national foundations to its engagement in Union legislation and CJEU jurisprudence. Drawing conclusions as to the need for such a common, European concept, the paper advances a plea for the recognition of a shift in the perspective of legal development, to one which acknowledges the dynamic evolution of private law within a pluralist, multi-level regulatory construct

Topics: European law, Private law, Consumer law, Nation States, Legal culture and identity, Law, K, Law of Europe, KJ-KKZ
Publisher: Ubiquity Press
Year: 2015
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