Public Regulation, Contract Law, and the Protection of the Weaker Party: Some Lessons from the Field of Financial Services

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While contractual relationships between private parties in the financial services field were traditionally the exclusive domain of private law, in particular contract law, the early twenty-first century has witnessed the rise of contract-related public regulation in this area both at EU and Member State levels. This development has received a new impulse in the wake of the recent financial crisis with the growing importance of public supervision over contractual relationships and the ex ante supervision rules for the protection of specific categories of weaker parties. The increasing presence of contract-related regulatory rules next to traditional contract law gives rise to a complex issue of the relationship between the two and its implications for the protection of the weaker party in a multilevel setting of European contract law. This article focuses on the ex post protection of individual weaker parties in the national contract laws in this new reality and argues for better coordination between various sites at which contract-related rule-making operates across different fields of contractual practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-684
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Review of Private Law
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • public regulation, contract law, weaker party, financial services, European contract law

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