Villa Vigoni Talks

“The Public Dimension of Contract. Legal Theories in Dialogue”

November 9-11, 2011, Villa Vigoni, Lake Como, Italy
organized by Dan Wielsch, Bertram Keller, Alessandro Somma and Pasquale Femia

Contracts are the fundament of our private economic world order. How public interests may enter into contracts affects not only legal academics, but also politicians and the democratic public. Private contracts are not only tools of economic competition, but have multiple social backgrounds and effects. These social involvements transcend bilateral interactions. How and to what extent private law takes social contexts and public interests into account is an eminent political question. Diverging national ‘politics of contract law’ imply different theoretical conceptions of contract and the law. The question gains special relevance through the actual construction of a Common Frame of Reference for European Private Law. Critics consent, that the draft was not preceded by sufficient discussion on its normative fundaments. Such a lack of theory is a general problem of European Private Law. In the global context contracts are often not even integrated in an hierarchical legal system any more. Besides states and supranational organizations contracts create their own autonomous private governance regimes. The Villa Vigoni Talks shall reveal from controversial theoretical perspectives, if and how public interests could enter into contracts. The aim is not a common theoretical core of the public dimension of contract, but a pluralistic dialogue of theories.


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