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EU: Contract Law

House of Lords written question – answered on 18th January 2011.

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Photo of Lord Stoddart of Swindon Lord Stoddart of Swindon Independent Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the European Commission's initiative to introduce a single European contract law on United Kingdom businesses and individuals.

Photo of Lord McNally Lord McNally Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords

The European Commission has not made any legislative proposal to introduce a single European contract law. Rather, on 1 July 2010, the European Commission issued a Green Paper setting out seven main possible options which it invited everyone to consider as possible ways to reduce any problems stemming from the current divergence of national contract laws. The European Commission's public consultation on this document continues until 31 January 2011.

The UK Government issued a public call for evidence on the Commission's Green Paper after it was published, which asked for views and evidence on the Commission's Green Paper. This exercise concluded in early December 2010 and the Government are currently considering the evidence gathered and will respond to the Commission in due course.

The Commission has not produced an impact assessment on any of the options due to the wide ranging and consultative nature of them, which at this stage lack the detail needed to make sound assessments of impacts. The Government have not produced a formal impact assessment at this stage for the same reasons. If the European Commission were at some point to produce a legislative proposal then that would need to be accompanied by a full impact assessment. The Commission has already undertaken to make sure this is done and the Government will make this requirement clear in their response.

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