Select Committee on European Union Forty-Ninth Report


CONTRACT LAW (5516/03)

Letter from the Chairman to the Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department

  The Green Paper was considered by Sub-Committee E (Law and Institutions) at its meeting on 5 March. The Committee decided to clear the document from scrutiny. We would, however, be grateful if you could keep us informed of deve1opments and, in particular, if you could supply the Committee with a summary of the responses to your consultation exercise.

  The Committee will be particularly interested to see what next steps will be taken by the Commission, whether in the form of an Action Plan or for individual legislative proposals. We reserve the right to return the subject matter of the Green Paper and, if necessary, conduct a detailed inquiry into the issues it raises.

6 March 2003

Letter from the Chairman to the Rt Hon Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC, Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department

  Sub-Committee E (Law and Institutions) considered the Commission's Action Plan at its meeting on 2 April. The Committee was grateful for your Explanatory Memorandum, and in particular those paragraphs outlining the Government's reactions to the Commission's proposal.

  The results of the consultation on the Green Paper are not surprising. You will recall that in our Report European Contract Law (12th Report, 2001-02) we concluded that there were, in essence, only two options (Options 2 and 3). The key issue now, as your Explanatory Memorandum indicates, is how best to take work forward. It seems to us that the Commission has not yet given up on the notion of some European contract code or regulation (Option 4) and we would urge you to use your influence to keep the Commission focussed on and its resources directed towards the problems arising under existing Directives. We drew attention to these in our Report and we are interested to see them set out in some detail in paragraphs 16-24 of the Action Plan. While the development of a "common frame of reference" might assist in ensuring greater coherence of existing and future acquis in the area of European contract law, we would be concerned if there was unnecessary delay in taking remedial action on a number of the practical problems described in the Action Plan.

  You say that the Government is considering the importance of influencing the "common frame of reference". We would be most interested to learn, in due course, what ideas you have and how you propose to take them forward.

  The Committee decided to clear the document from scrutiny.

3 April 2003


 
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