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Workshop on Standard Terms and Conditions


Workshop on Contract Law and Standard Terms and Conditions, Brussels, 19 January 2004

Standard terms and conditions (STC) are widely used in transactions in the European Union and elsewhere. They have both advantages and disadvantages.

In a majority of cases they are written for a single legal order, normally that of one EU country. This seems like an anomaly in a Single market in which transactions should be able to take place across 30 countries (enlarged EU plus European Economic Area - EEA- partners) on more or less the same conditions.

A possible reason for developing STCs for a single legal order may be that national contract laws are still different and do not allow the elaboration of a single set of STCs for application in several legal orders.

The Commission is aware, however, that a number of companies and trade associations have developed STCs which are effectively being used in several EU countries.

Some are even being applied in the entire EEA and beyond, including in a number of important trading partners of the EU.

In its Communication of 12 February 2003 "A more coherent European contract law - an action plan", the Commission therefore announced that it would promote the elaboration of EU-wide STCs rather than STCs developed for a single MS. This would be done, inter alia by raising awareness of the possibilities which exist even in the current situation to elaborate and use EU-wide STCs.

Workshop on Standard Terms and Conditions

Following up on ideas and suggestion formulated in its Contract Law Action Plan of February 2003pdf Choose translations of the previous link  [287 KB], the European Commission organised a Workshop on Standard Terms and Conditions (STCs) on January 19th, 2004.

The purpose of this Workshop was twofold:

First, as Mr Auke Haagsma (Directorate General Internal Market) outlined in his introductory presentation pdf Choose translations of the previous link  [163 KB] the Workshop was to assist the Commission in implementing the three suggested "actions" in the field of STCs, namely:

  • setting up a dedicated website on existing and planned activities in this area
  • defining best practice in developing and using EU-wide STCs;
  • identifying issues that should be covered by the guidelines that the Commission intends to publish in order to remind parties of the legal and other limits which apply to the use of EU-wide STCs

Second, the Workshop was held to allow stakeholders and other interested parties to exchange information about practical experiences with EU-wide STCs.

For a detailed summary of workshop proceedings, please click on one of the headings below: