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Because of the international nature of our practice and the diversity the cultures and nationalities that make up our network we are quite interested in issues of conflicts of law, comparative law and cross-fertilization between legal systems.

This explains why we regularly participate in projects organized by the European Commission.

Quite often the studies commissioned by the European Commission are made public.

The reader will find below the text (or the references to) of those studies or surveys that Lex Fori has carried out for the Commission and which have been made available to the public.

Please note that while these texts do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Commission, the copyright belongs to the Commission.

Report on Soft Law (Self-Regulation, Co-Regulation):

Study to identify best practice in the use of soft law and to analyse how this best practice can be made to work for consumers in the European Union

This study was described by a senior Canadian Civil Servant and leading authority on voluntary agreements * as follows:

A very interesting and thoughtful study prepared for the European Commission on best practices in the use of soft law, and how soft law can best be made to work for consumers in the European Union.

For the purposes of the study, soft law is defined in two ways:

(1) as rules other than laws, regulations and contracts, or

(2) as a set of instruments applied by professionals on their own initiative or in cooperation with others, or on the basis of state authorisation, to be applied on a consensual basis, with generally no legal force.

Among other things, the study examines experiences with soft law around the world, and notes the different levels of receptivity of various governments and legal systems towards soft law. A taxonomy of soft law instruments is provided, along with descriptions of factors for success, best practices, favourable sectors for the development of soft law, and factors unconducive to soft law.

*Kernaghan Webb, LL.B., LL.M., LL.D.
Facilitator, online Voluntary Codes Research Forum,
Senior Legal Policy Advisor and Chief of Research,
Canadian Office of Consumer Affairs
Industry Canada

The reader can consult Lex Fori's conclusions in executive summary form, in English, French, or German. The full report is downloadable on the Commission web site in Pdf format at the following address.


© 2001 Lex Fori International Lawyers