Date (dd-mm-yyyy)
Legitimacy and European Private Law
H.W. Micklitz
Publication Year
Document type
PhD thesis
Faculty of Law (FdR)
Centre for the Study of European Contract Law (CSECL)
The thesis inquires into the Legitimacy of Harmonisation of European Private law (EPL) against the background of the broader debate on the Legitimacy of the EU, and its so-called Social and Democratic deficits. While the ‘Social’ deficit has a fundamental importance for the ‘self-understanding’ of the EU and its role in private law, the ‘Democratic’ deficit impacts on the capacity of the democratic self-government in private law, which in the past proved fundamental for pulling out its market re-embedding function.

The legitimacy concerns increase with the expanding powers of the EU. In private law, the main triggers have been the attempts by the EU to become an exclusive locus of private lawmaking through ‘full’ or ‘maximum’ harmonisation of big parts of private law, which gave rise to concerns regarding the impact of such a competence shift on the content of private law.

This thesis can be understood both as a critique of the current efforts in EPL, equally as an exploration of how to address the normative challenges of law making in the context of a postnational entity such as the EU - which as a matter of broader concern needs to compensate for the mismatch between its factual powers and its legitimacy resources at the ‘macro’ level.