Ernst A. Kramer

Der Stil der schweizerischen Privatrechtskodifikation – ein Modell für Europa?

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The Swiss Civil Code – A Stylistic Model for Europe? The plain language of the Swiss Civil Code, influenced by its leading editor Eugen Huber, was already praised at the time of its emergence. The current discussions concerning the adoption of a European Code on Contract Law oftentimes refer to the codification of Swiss private law. This raises the question of whether the »stylistic« characteristics of Swiss private law could serve as models for a European Code on Contract Law. Apart from the pursuit of comprehensibility, the main characteristics of the codification of Swiss private law are a strong emphasis on judicial discretion as well as the attempt to have a single unified code in order to avoid enacting additional statutes. Another distinguishing element consists of the integration of different European legal traditions, notably of the German and Roman legal systems. The present analysis demonstrates that these characteristics are important in the context of a European Code on Contract Law. The quest for comprehensibility is of particular relevance in the field of consumer contract law. Judicial discretion, however, should be limited in order to avoid the danger of divergent national interpretations of the unified rules.

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