Chicago Journal of International Law


The European Union is considering a proposal to create a uniform sales law that would apply to cross-border sales agreements: the Common European Sales Law (CESL). If adopted, the CESL would be an optional instrument: traders could write their contracts with other traders and consumers to make the CESL govern their sales contracts. This Comment addresses whether the CESL complies with the EUs subsidiarity principle, which prohibits the EUfrom passing any regulations that address matters that can be sufficiently addressed by lower government authorities. One of the EU's primacy objective is completing the internal market among the member states, which the CESL would allegedly encourage by reducing traders' legal costs in cross-border trade. Ultimately, however, the CESL violates the subsidiarity principle precisely because of its optional nature. Traders seeking to engage in cross- border trade will not willingly choose to operate under a legal regime with no preexisting case law, no guarantees of consistent rulings by member states' judiciaries, provisions that prevent the CESL's broader application outside of sales contracts, and particularly high consumer protections.