Centre for the Study of European Contract Law

Research theme Three: The legitimacy of postnational private law

This topic asks whether postnational private law differs from national law in terms of legitimacy. Research explores the political and philosophical foundations of postnational law, and uses leading theories of social justice to question the Europeanisation and globalisation processes. For example, how democratic is the process of creating postnational private law and how just are the outcomes of that process?

Specific topics

  • The legitimising potential of fundamental rights and general principles;
  • The legitimacy of expert involvement in shaping European private law;
  • The geographic locus – whether private law should be made on a national, European or global level;
  • Normative analysis of clashes between different legal orders and legitimation through party autonomy – including issues of freedom of contract, choice of law, optional instruments and non-mandatory rules. 

Research methodology is not only a means, but an object of this research theme, which examines various methods of legal comparison and the possibility of developing a common European research method.  This theme is also closely related to joint research the CSECL conducts with the Amsterdam Centre for International Law and the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance on the ‘Architecture of Postnational Rulemaking’.  Deirdre Curtin, Martijn Hesselink and André Nolkaemper direct this joint research.

LEaP Podcast series

LEaP is an academic podcast series in which leading scholars in the fields of law, economics and philosophy are interviewed. We aim to make exciting and groundbreaking ideas available to a wider audience.

LEaP Episodes

Seana Shiffrin

Seana Shiffrin is Professor of Philosophy and Pete Kameron Professor of Law and Social Justice at UCLA.

In this episode we talk with Seana Shiffrin about contract law theory and in particular about her work on the unconscionability doctrine, the relation between contract law regimes and the moral practice of promising, and the immorality of breach of contract. Is it immoral to breach a contract? And what is the relation between our moral practices and contract law? Seana Shiffrin points to the potentially troubling consequences that contract law may have on our ethical lives.

Liam Murphy

Liam Murphy is Herbert Peterfreund Professor of Law and Philosophy at NYU. He is a distinguished scholar, well-known for his work in legal, moral, and political theory.

In this episode we talk with Liam Murphy about contract law theory and the relation between the practice of promising and contract law. Why should law enforce agreements? What is the point of contract law? Liam Murphy points to the socially beneficial practice of promising.

Frederick Schauer

Frederick Schauer is David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia.

In this episode we talk with Frederick Schauer about his new book “The Force of Law” on the importance of coercion for the law. We also discuss the role of language in legal formalism. Should coercion and force be a subject of the philosophy of law? What gives a legal text its meaning and its function as a harmonization instrument for uniform law?

Eric Posner

Eric Posner is Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law at University of Chicago. In this episode we talk to him about his critical view on the economic analyisis of contract law. Also the issue of Climate Change Justice is discussed.

Pierre Legrand

Pierre Legrand is Professor of law at the Sorbonne University in Paris. In this episode we talk to him about the methodology of comparative legal studies and his firm stance against the Europeanization of private law.

Laurence Kotlikoff

Professor Laurence Kotlikoff is William Fairfield Warren Professor and a professor of Economics at Boston University. We talked to him about his new and highly praised book "Jimmy Stewart is Dead". In the interview Professor Kotlikoff also responds to comments from the Dean of the Amsterdam Law School, Professor Edgar du Perron, who is professor of Private law and specialized in financial law.

LewIs Kornhauser

Professor Lewis Kornhauser is Alfred B. Engelberg Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law. In this epsiode we discussed the normativity of law and the behavioral claim of law and economics, in relation to which Professor Kornhauser responded to Eric Posner in the first episode of LEaP.

iTunes and UvA Website

LEaP podcast episodes are also available in the iTunes Store.


Lyn Tjon Soei Len is a University Lecturer at the CSECL. Her research agenda centers around the political-philosophical foundations of (postnational) private law (normative legal theory).

  • dr. L.K.L. (Lyn) Tjon Soei Len

    Lyn Tjon Soei Len
    T: 0205253134
    T: 0205253519

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Published by  CSECL

30 June 2016