Justifying Fair Price Rules in Contract Law


This article discusses the introduction of a general “fair price rule” in (European) contract law. According to such a rule, prices that create a “significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations” would not bind the disadvantaged party. Justifying this rule cannot be avoided by holding, as Martijn Hesselink does, that in light of a “reasonable pluralism of worldviews,” the issue is one which a democratically elected lawmaker has to decide. A welfarist (economic) conception of justice best explains the existing (European) rules on contract formation and price, and it also casts a long and dark shadow over a general “fair price rule.”

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