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O.O. (Olha) Cherednychenko, Prof

Professor of European Private Law and Comparative Law / Director Groningen Centre for European Financial Services Law
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Private Law and Market Regulation in the Face of Contemporary Grand Challenges

Private law has been traditionally conceived as that part of the law which secures a sphere of positive freedom for private parties and is concerned with interpersonal justice. In contrast, market regulation has been commonly associated with a distinctive set of rules adopted for instrumental purposes, such as the prevention of market failures and distributive justice. While market regulation typically intervenes ex ante to prevent harm to individuals and the common good, private law generally operates ex post after the harm has already been suffered. Over the past several decades, however, the dichotomy between private law and market regulation has become blurred. In particular, traditional national private law, notably contract and tort law, has been viewed by the EU as an instrument for achieving market integration, leading to the emergence of legal hybrids, such as ‘European regulatory private law’ and ‘European supervision private law’. Conversely, the traditional private law discourse in national legal systems has been increasingly influenced by policy considerations, both in individual and interest-group litigation before civil courts.

These developments have given rise to many intricate questions about the relationship between private law and market regulation. What is more, the big societal challenges that we are facing today may add another dimension to our understanding of this relationship, prompting the need to re-conceptualise it and develop a common theoretical framework. Among such challenges are climate change mitigation; a switch to a resource efficient circular economy; and the ongoing digitalisation of the marketplace and societies at large (in particular, through the use of such technologies as digital platforms, Big Data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain).  

The aim of this research project, which includes but is not limited to financial services, is to explore the interplay between private law and market regulation within the EU multi-level system of governance and beyond in the face of contemporary grand challenges. This topic is studied in the context of general private law (i.e., contract, tort, and property law), economic law/EU internal market law (including, e.g., consumer law, non-discrimination law, unfair trade law, financial services law, environmental law, and energy law), as well as other disciplines (such as law and economics and political science.

The project will be launched at the international conference organised on the occasion of the inaugural lecture of Prof. Olha O. Cherednychenko to be held on 9-10 December 2019 in Groningen. For more information, please visit the conference website.  

Groningen Centre for European Financial Services Law (GCEFSL)

Financial services, such as payment, credit, investment, and insurance, have become an essential part of the everyday life of EU citizens. Such services allow citizens to meet their essential needs, such as having a home or sufficient income after retirement, and to fully participate in society. In mobilizing savings and allocating investment, financial services are also highly important for the EU economy. The recent financial crisis has highlighted, however, that in order to be able to fulfil their functions, financial services must be sustainable, i.e. meet both the short- and long-term needs of individual consumers and societies at large in terms of access, choice, and protection against overindebtedness.

The Groningen Centre for European Financial Services Law within the Faculty of Law aims to promote high-quality research with a view to ensuring the sustainability of financial services in the EU. Our researchers approach a wide range of pressing issues relating to the post-crisis regulation of financial services by breaking the boundaries of different legal fields, such as (European) private and administrative law, and different academic disciplines, such as law, economics, psychology, and ethics. In particular, our research focuses on the client/consumer protection in financial services; the system of public supervision over the financial sector; public and private enforcement of financial regulation; and the interplay between different systems of governance in rule-making and enforcement in the financial services field.

For more information, please visit the GCEFSL-website

Public and Private Enforcement of European Private Law: Perspectives and Challenges

Traditionally, private law rules governing the relationships between private parties were enforced by the judiciary at the initiative of private parties through the means available within private law. The characteristic private law approach to enforcement requires, for example, that the defendant pays compensation to a person directly harmed by the defendant's breach of the private law rule. Nowadays, however, administrative agencies have become increasingly involved in the enforcement of private law through public law means, such as a fine for breach of the private law rule. An important role in fostering public enforcement of private law has been played by the EU. The current policy model of European private law enforcement as promoted by the European Commission is guided by enforcement through national and/or European administrative agencies. Such agencies have been established not only in the highly regulated areas, such as financial services and services of general economic interest, but also in the area of consumer protection. The rise of administrative enforcement via agencies in the field of European private law has resulted in a complex mix of public and private enforcement mechanisms varying across different sectors affected by EU law and across different Member States. Following the international conference on the interplay between public and private enforcement in European private law on 25 April 2014 at the University of Groningen, the special issue of European Review of Private Law (23(4), 2015) on this topic has been published.

For more information, please visit

Last modified:25 June 2022 10.57 a.m.