This course focuses on autonomy in the domain of the law of obligations.
The first part of this course deals with the question of how much autonomy exists with respect to the law that governs the parties' relations. This question is pertinent for all contracts, especially for international ones, but becomes more difficult when the bargaining positions of the parties are unequal (e.g. in consumer and insurance contracts). Party autonomy is also pertinent in tort law: when and how can parties choose the law that regulate their tort?
The second part focuses on means of dispute settlement in private disputes. While parties can revert to courts, they can also choose to revert to non-judicial means of dispute settlement such as arbitration or mediation. Mediation is increasingly encouraged because of the cost saving to the State, and in family matters in order to reduce the conflict which partners and children experience. While arbitration is broadly accepted in commercial disputes, there are still differences in approaches by national systems, and differences also exist on the extent to which arbitration can be used outside the commercial contract sphere.