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Simon Whittaker

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Professor of European Comparative Law

Simon Whittaker has been a fellow and tutor in law at St. John's College since 1987, previously being a lecturer in laws at King's College's London. He took his degrees at Oxford (BA,1979; BCL, 1980; MA, 1982; D.Phil., 1987; DCL, 2008) and was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1987. He has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Regensburg and a visiting professor at the University of Paris I and University of Paris II. He is a member of the American Law Institute.



Publications

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Journal Articles

2013

Simon Whittaker, 'Identifying the Legal Costs of Operation of the Common European Sales Law' (2013) 50 Common Market Law Review 85

2012

Simon Whittaker, 'The Proposed \'Common European Sales Law\': Legal Framework and the Agreement of the Parties' (2012) 75 Modern Law Review 578 [...]

The European Commission’s Proposal for a Regulation on a Common European Sales Law (‘CESL’) seeks to create a European scheme of contract law available for parties to choose to govern cross-border contracts for the sale of goods, supply of ‘digital content,’ and for the supply of related services.This article explains the background to the Proposal, sketches out the purposes and scope of the CESL, and considers and criticises its legal framework (and in particular its relationship with private international law) and the key requirement of the parties’ agreement. In the author’s view, the CESL scheme remains an unconvincing basis for the achievement of its economic purposes and, as regards consumer contracts, puts too much reliance on the agreement of the consumer as a justification for the loss of their existing protection under EU private international law rules.


2011

Simon Whittaker, 'The Optional Instrument of European Contract law and Freedom of Contract' (2011) European Review of Contract Law 371 – 398 [...]

This article assesses the appropriateness of an 'optional instrument' in contract law foreseen by the European Commission


2009

Simon Whittaker, 'A Framework of Principle for European Contract Law?' (2009) 125 Law Quarterly Review 616 [...]

This article considers the scope, purposes and use of 'principle' by the contract law provisions of the Draft Common Frame of Reference


ISBN: ISSN 0023-933X

Simon Whittaker, 'Clauses abusives et garanties des consommateurs: la proposition de directive relative aux droit du consommateur et la portée du 'harmonisation complète'' (2009) Recueil Dalloz 1 [...]

Abstract: In October 2008 the EC Commission published a Proposal for a Directive on Consumer Rights. This proposal seeks to put together provisions from four existing directives of the consumer acquis, replacing the traditional ‘minimum’ nature of their protection with ‘complete harmonisation’. This article explains the substantive changes proposed for two of these directives (unfair contract terms and consumer sales) and it identifies a fundamental ambiguity in what is meant by full harmonisation for this purpose. For ‘complete harmonisation’ would either require Member States to disapply all other national legal rules which could overlap with the impact of these two sets of harmonised rules in their respective contexts (all rules affecting the validity of terms in consumer contracts, all remedies in respect of failures in quality, fitness for purpose or contractual conformity of goods in consumer contracts of sale of goods), with costs in terms of national coherence and the development of perverse incentives as well as in terms of the weakening of the substantive legal policies pursued by those rules. Or an attempt would have to be made to restrict the impact of ‘full harmonisation’ to the conceptual schemes actually set out by the Proposal, leaving untouched ‘other grounds’ of control of contract terms or buyer’s rights (as the case may be). This second approach would enable the undesirable effects of the first choice to be avoided, but it would fundamentally undermine the economic purpose of introducing full harmonisation.

La proposition de directive relative aux droits des consommateurs(octobre 2008) rassemble dans un seul texte les quatre directives sur l'acquis communautaire en vue de l'« harmonisation totale » de la protection des consommateurs. Cet article éclaire les changements substantiels par rapport à deux de ces directives (clauses contractuelles abusives et ventes au consommateur), et l'ambiguïté du concept d'« harmonisation totale ». Soit celle-ci écartera l'application des dispositions nationales pouvant empiéter sur le domaine des règles harmonisées, conformément à l'inspiration économique de la Proposition, soit elle n'affectera que les lois nationales de transposition de la Proposition, sans préjudice du contrôle des clauses abusives ou des droits.


Simon Whittaker, 'Unfair Terms and Consumer Guarantees: the Proposal for a Directive on Consumer Rights and the Significance of “Full Harmonisation' (2009) European Review of Contract Law 2

2008

Simon Whittaker, 'Burden of Proof in the Consumer Acquis and in the Draft Common Frame of Reference: Law, Fact and Things in Between' (2008) European Review of Contract Law 411 – 444

Simon Whittaker and C. Banfi del Rio (translator), 'El precedente en el Dercho ingles: una vision desde la ciudadela' (2008) 35 Revista Chilena de Derecho 37 [...]

This translates the author's earlier work 'Precedent in English Law: A View from the Citadel' which explains the rules and some of the working out of the precedent by English judges to a non-common law readership.


ISBN: 0726-0747

2007

Simon Whittaker, 'Form and Substance in the Harmonisation of Product Liability in Europe' (2007) (2007) Zeitschrift für Europäisches Privatrecht 858-71 [...]

This is a case-note criticising a decision of the ECJ in Case C-402/03 drawing (as the title suggests)a distinction between the Court's concern with the form of harmonsition while the substance is left to one side.


Simon Whittaker, 'Form and Substance in the Reception of EC Directives into English Contract Law' (2007) 3 European Review of Contract Law 381 [...]

The author explores some of the difficulties facing English lawyers in implementing EC directives in the area of 'contract law' and compares them with those facing lawyers in systems with codified laws.


ISBN: 1614-9920

Simon Whittaker, 'La responsabilité pour le fait personnel dans l’avant-projet de réforme du droit de la responsabilité: donner voix aux silences du Code civil?' (2007) 2007(1) Revue des contrats 89 [...]

This article criticises the suggested reforms to French extra-contractual liability for fault contained in the L’avant-projet de réforme du droit de la responsabilité (2005) (the 'Avant-projet Catala').


ISBN: 978-2-275-02775-3

2006

Simon Whittaker, 'On the Development of European Standard Contract Terms' (2006) 2 European Review of Contract Law 51 [...]

This article considers the desirability of the development of sector-specific European standard contract terms and puts forward four main reasons why such a development should be given a cool reception.


ISBN: 1614-9920

Simon Whittaker, 'Precedent in English Law: A View from the Citadel' (2006) 14 European Review of Private Law 705 [...]

This article attempts to explain the doctrine and practice of judicial use of precedent in English law to lawyers from other and especially non common law systems.


2005

Simon Whittaker, 'Contractual Control and Contractual Review in England and France' (2005) 13 European Review of Private Law 757 [...]

This article compares the use in English and French law of two techniques for the control of the content of contracts: (i) the insertion of standard terms into contracts by law and (ii) the control of the fairness of agreed contract terms. It examines the relationship between these two and considers the different mixtures of public and private law which are revealed.


ISBN: 0928-9801

Simon Whittaker, 'Un droit à la prestation plûtot qu’un droit à l’exécution? Réflexions sur l’exécution en nature et réparation en droit anglais' (2005) Revue des contrats 49 [...]

Explains the strategy of English law in relation to breach of contract in terms of a right to the subject-matter of the debtor's obligation rather than to performance of the contract by the debtor.


2004

Simon Whittaker, 'Assessing the fairness of contract terms: the parties’ essential bargain, its regulatory context and the significance of the requirement of good faith' (2004) 37987 Zeitschrift fur Europaisches Privatrecht 75 [...]

The article looks at issues relating to the harmonisation of contract law in the context of the decision of the HL in DGFT v First National Bank


ISBN: 0943-3929

2001

Simon Whittaker, 'Judicial Interventionism and Consumer Contracts' (2001) 117 Law Quarterly Review 215 [...]

case-note on ECJ's decision on Oceano Grupo Editoriale v Quintero


ISBN: 0023-933X

Simon Whittaker, 'Judicial Review in Public Law and in Contract Law: the example of 'Student Rules'' (2001) 21 Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 193 [...]

Starting from an earlier article, this article compares judicial review of sub-ordinate legislation on the basis of public law principle and judicial review of the unfair contract terms of in consumer contracts. Similarities and differences in these two types of review are identified and their implication in the student context assessed.


ISBN: 0143-6503

Simon Whittaker, 'Public and Private Law-making: Subordinate Legislation, Contracts and the Status of 'Student Rules'' (2001) 21(1) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 103

Books

2008

Simon Whittaker and others, Principles of French Law (2nd edn, OUP 2008) [...]

This book is a general work introducing the French legal system and French substantive law to a non-French (and in particular common law) readership. S. Whittaker is one of the editors and wrote the section on civil procedure and the chapter on the law of obligations.


ISBN: 978-0-19-954138-6

2005

Simon Whittaker, Liability for Products: English Law, French Law and European Harmonisation (OUP 2005)

Chapters

2013

Simon Whittaker and K Reisenhuber, 'Conceptions of Contract' in G. Dannemann and S. Vogenauer (eds), The Common European Sales Law in Context: Interactions with English and German Law (OUP 2013)

Simon Whittaker, 'The Internal Relationships of EU Consumer Contract Laws: Unfair Contract Terms, Unfair Commercial Practices and the CESL' in L. Moccia (ed), The Making of European Private Law: Why, How, What, Who (Sellier 2013)

Simon Whittaker, 'The Notion of Damage in EU Consumer Contract Law' in E. Terry, G. Straetmans, V Colaert (eds), Landmark Cases of EU Consumer Law in Honour of Jules Stuyck (Intersentia 2013)

Simon Whittaker, 'Who determines what civil courts decide? Private Rights, Public policy and EU law' in D.Leczykiewicz and S. Weatherill (eds), The Involvement of EU Law in Private Relationships (Richard Hart 2013)

2012

Simon Whittaker, 'Chapter 1 Introdutory; Chapter 4 Form; Chapter 8 Personal Capacity; Chapter 15 Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts; Chapter 44 Suretyship' in H. Beale (General Editor) (ed), Chitty on Contracts (Thomson Sweet & Maxwell 2012)

Simon Whittaker, 'Contratos abusivos, cláusulas abusivas y prácticas comerciales desleales' in S Camara Lapuente (ed), La Revision de las Normas Europeas y Nacionales de Proteccion de los Consumidores (Thomson Reuters (Legal) Ltd 2012) [...]

Abstract: This article explores the relationship between EU legal rules which control unfair terms and unfair commercial practices with particular references to the substantive unfairness of the central bargain

ISBN: 978-84-470-3981-4

Simon Whittaker, 'Le rayonnement de René David' in Association Henri Capitant des amis de la culture juridique française (ed), Hommage René David (Dalloz 2012)

2011

Simon Whittaker, 'Contract networks, freedom of contract and the restructuring of privity of contract' in F. Cafaggi (ed), Contractual Networks, Inter-Firm Cooperation and Economic Growth (Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc. 2011) [...]

This article considers why English lawyers have not generally been attracted by the notion of 'network contracts' to regulate complex economic relations.


ISBN: 978 1 84844 889 6

Simon Whittaker, 'The Product Liability Directive and Rome II Article 5: 'Full Harmonisation' and the Conflict of Laws' in C. Barnard and O. Odudu (eds), Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies (Richard Hart 2011)

Simon Whittaker, 'Traduire les concepts, c’est interpréter les différences: la structure analytique du droit des obligations, les sanctions de l’inexécution et “Remedies for Breach' in P. Catala (ed), L’art de la traduction, L’accueil international d l’avant-projet de réforme du droit des obligations (Editions Pantheon-Assas, Paris 2011) [...]

This brief essay explains the problems encountered and solutions adopted in the transaction of a French civil law reform project, the Avant-projet de reforme du droit des obligations. The translation was undertaken jointly with John Cartwright


ISBN: 978-2-913397-99-6

2010

Simon Whittaker, 'Contracts for Services in English Law and in the DCFR' in R. Zimmermann (ed), Service Contracts (Mohr Siebeck 2010) [...]

This article explains and assess the category of 'contracts for services' in English law and its relationship to other contracts. It then compares this to the approach taken by the Draft Common Frame of Reference


Simon Whittaker, 'The development of product liability in England' in Simon Whittaker (ed), The Development of Product Liability (Cambridge University Press 2010) [...]

This essay explains the development of product liability in English law


2009

Simon Whittaker and others, 'Translating the Avant-projet de réforme' in J. Cartwright, S. Vogenauer, S. Whittaker (eds), Reforming the French Law of Obligations (Richard Hart 2009)

Simon Whittaker, '\'Termination\' for Contractual Non-performance and its Consequences: French Law Reviewed in the Light of the Avant-projet de reforme' in J. Cartwrigh, S. Vogenauer, S. Whittaker (eds), Reforming the French Law of Obligations (Richard Hart 2009)

2008

Simon Whittaker, 'Can the Contract Control the Contract? "Entire Agreement Clauses" in English Law' in F. Addis (ed), Le Clausole di Forma nelle Condizioni Generali di Contratto (Giuffe Editore, Miilan 2008) [...]

The article analyses the law governing the effectiveness of entire agreement clauses in English law


Simon Whittaker, 'Chapter 1 Introductory; Chapter 4 Form; Chapter 8 Capacity; Chapter 15 Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts; and Chapter 44 Suretyship' in H Beale (ed), Chitty on Contracts (30th edition) (Thomson Sweet and Maxwell 2008)

Simon Whittaker, 'Price Variation Clauses' in M. Fabre-Magnan, J. Ghestin, P. Jourdain (eds), Etudes offertes a Genevieve Viney (L.G.D.J. 2008) [...]

This essay explores the validity of price variation clauses in English law


ISBN: 978-2-275-03136-1

2007

Simon Whittaker, 'A 'Period of Grace' for Contractual Performance' in M. Andenas, S. Diaz Alabart, Sir Basil Markesinis, H. Micklitz and N. Pasquini (eds), Liber Amicorum Guido Alpa, Private Law Beyond the National Systems (British Institute of International and Comparative Law 2007) [...]

This article (which is an updated version of a paper published in a group of conference papers in Spain in 2002) deals with the question whether a court can give a contractual party further time to perform a contractual obligation (looking at French and English law).


ISBN: 978-1-90522210-28-8

Simon Whittaker, 'Termination Clauses' in A. Burrows and E. Peel (eds), Contract Terms (in A. Burrows and E. Peel, Contract Terms (OUP, 2007) 2007) [...]

This work analyses the different types of contract terms which allow an injured party to terminate on the ground of breach of contract and explains and criticises the controls which statute and the courts have put in place to control them.


ISBN: 978-0-19-922937-6

Simon Whittaker, 'The Interpretation of Concepts in European Private Law' in K. Boele-Woelski and W. Grosheide (eds), The Future of European Contract Law (Wolters Kluwer 2007) [...]

This short article contrasts the interpretative style of the ECJ with more traditional (and conceptual) styles of 'European private lawyers' and then illustrates this contrast by reference to the decision of the ECJ in EasyCar v OFT


ISBN: 978-90-411-2699-3

Simon Whittaker, 'The Relationship of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive to European and National Contract Laws’' in S. Weatherill and U. Bernitz (eds), The Regulation of Unfair Commercial Practices under EC Directive 2005/29: New Rules and New Techniques (Hart Publishing 2007) [...]

This article explores the impact of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive of 2005 on EC and national contract laws.


Simon Whittaker, '\'Contributory Fault and Mitigation; Rights and Reasonableness: Comparisons between English and French Law' in L Tichy (ed), Causation in Law ( 2007) [...]

This article compares the different treatment of a claimant's failure to mitigate his/her own harm in French and English law.


ISBN: 80-85889-93-2

2006

Simon Whittaker, 'The Language or Languages of Consumer Contracts' in John Bell and Claire Kilpatrick (eds), Cambridge Yearbook of European Studies 2005-2006 (Hart Publishing 2006)

Simon Whittaker, 'The Terminologies of Civil Protection: Rights, Remedies and Procedures' in B. Pozzo and V. Jacometti (eds), Multilinqualism and the Harmonization of European Law (Kluwer 2006) [...]

This work is also published in Italian as ‘‘La Terminologia della Tutela Civile: Diritti, Rimedi e Procedure’ in B. Pozzo and V. Jacometti (eds.), Le politische linguistiche delle istituzioni comunitarie dopo l’allargamento (2006) The work looks at the terminology describing the rights of parties in a contractual context in English, French and EC law and how this terminology reflects different ways of thinking about the appropriate response of the law to failure to perform


ISBN: 90-411-2532-9

Simon Whittaker, 'Theory and Practice of the 'General Clause' in English Law: General Norms and the Structuring of Judicial Discretion'' in S. Grundmann and D. Mazeaud (eds), General Clauses and Standards in European Contract Law ( 2006) [...]

This article explains how an English lawyer would see the notion of a 'general clause' and then gives three types of examples of such a very broad legal norm from English law.


ISBN: 90 411 2432 2

2005

Simon Whittaker, 'A Few Observations on the Plurality of Debtors and on their Release' in A Vaquer (ed), La Tercera Parte de Los Principios de Derecho Contractual Europeo, The Principles of European Contract Law Part III (Tirant lo blanch, Valencia 2005) [...]

analyses the provisions of the Principles of European Contract law on the plurality of debtors (joint and several liability) from the point of view of English law and French law.


2004

Simon Whittaker, 'Chapter 1 Introductory; Chapter 4 Form; Chapter 8 Capacity; Chapter 15 Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts; and Chapter 44 Suretyship' in H Beale (ed), Chitty on Contracts (29th edition) (Sweet and Maxwell 2004) [...]

Continued updating and rewriting of chapters (including new section on the HRA and contracts).


ISBN: 1 0 421 842 806

Simon Whittaker, 'Consumer Law and the Distinction between Public and Private Law' in J.-B. Auby and M. Freedland (eds), La distinction du droit public et du droit privé: regards français et britanniques/ The Public Law/Private Law Divide: une entente assez cordiale (Ed. Panthéon Assas 2004) [...]

A brief article exploring how consumer protection relates to the distinction between public and private law (with reference to French and English law)


ISBN: 2-913397-28-X

2003

Simon Whittaker, 'Taking Time and Giving Time for Performance: a Comparison of Aspects of the English and the French law' in A. Santiago Espiau and Antoni Vaquer (eds), Bases de un Derecho Contractual Europeo/Bases of a European Contract Law (Tirant lo Blanch, Valencia 2003) [...]

compares the English and French approaches to a court's power to give a party to a contract further time to perform, with particular reference to payments of sums money


ISBN: 84-8442-860-5

2002

Simon Whittaker, 'I problemi posti dal recepimento della direttiva 1999/44/CE del maggio 1999, concernente taluni aspetti della vendita di beni di consume e delle garanzie ad essi relative. Prospettive del diritto inglese' in G. Cian (ed), L'attuazione della Direttiva 99/44/CE in Italian et in Europa (CEDAM 2002) [...]

This article explores technical problems of the implementation of the Directive on consumer guarantees and also the tensions which its implementation will cause in English law arising from fundamental differences between assumptions as to the nature of contractual obligation and contractual performance found in English law and those found in the Directive, the latter reflecting the general civilian position in this respect.


ISBN: 88-13-24127-5

Simon Whittaker, 'Performance of another's obligation: French and English law contrasted' in D. Johnston and R. Zimmermann (eds), Unjustified Enrichment, Key Issues in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press 2002)

Simon Whittaker, 'The Reformulation of Contractual Formality' in P. Birks and A. Pretto (eds), Themes in Comparative Law in Honour of Bernard Rudden (Oxford University Press 2002) [...]

This article looks at the varieties of formal requirements to be found in English law and how they are changing, in part owing to the impact of European legislation. It raises questions as to the relationship between requirements of form and of substance in this context.


ISBN: 0-19-925856-2

2001

Simon Whittaker, 'Contracts which harm third parties: English law' in L. Vacca (ed), Gli effetti del contratto nei confronti des terzi nella prospettiva storico-comparatistica (Giappichelli, Torino 2001) [...]

This article looks at the ways in which English law may be said to harm or burden third parties to contracts (or similar devices) through the use of particular doctrines, such as restrictive covenants or the tort of inducing breach of contract. It then looks briefly at the relationship between breach of contract and breach of trust from this perspective.


ISBN: 88-348-1079-1

Simon Whittaker, 'Les sanctions de l'inexecution des contrats, droit anglais' in M. Fontaine and G. Viney (eds), Les sanctions de l'inexecution des obligations contractuelles, Etudes de droit compare (Bruyant, Bruxelles and LGDJ, Paris 2001) [...]

This article looks at the English law governing non-performance and breach of contract in English law and draws comparisons with aspects of the French and Belgian law.


ISBN: 2-8027-1465-1

Simon Whittaker, 'Reciprocity Beyond Privity' in P. Kincaid (ed), Privity, Private Justice or Public Regulation (Ashgate 2001) [...]

This article examines situations where common law or legislation accepts a degree of reciprocity of benefit and burden beyond privity of contract, but concludes that no pure principle of benefit and burden by which a person who takes the benefit of a transaction should also take the burden should be recognised.


ISBN: 0-7546-2089-1

Edited books

2010

Simon Whittaker (ed), Introduction to fault in product liability (Cambridge University Press 2010) [...]

This forms the introduction and general overview of the work which I also edited on the historical development of product liability in 6 European laws. It forms part of a wider AHRD project on Legal Development (the first stage of which focussed on the development of liability for fault) run by John Bell and David Ibbetson of Cambridge.


ISBN: ISBN 978-0-521-49429

Simon Whittaker (ed), The Development of Product Liability (C.U.P. 2010)

2009

Simon Whittaker (ed), Reforming the French Law of Obligations (Richard Hart 2009)

Internet Publications

2009

Simon Whittaker, 'La protection du consommateur contre les clauses abusives en Grande Bretagne' (2009) Commission des clauses abusives, France

2007

Simon Whittaker and John Carwright, 'Proposals for Reform of the Law of Obligations and the Law of Prescription; English translation of Avant-projet de réforme du droit des obligations et de la prescription (2005)' (2007) [...]

This translation (running to c. 100,000 words covers the proposed changes to the French Civil Code's law of contract, civil liability, unjustified enrichment and prescription, together with the introductory preambles and notes. At present it is published on the French Ministry of Justice Website (we were invited by the organiser of the project to make the translation for this purpose), but we shall republish it with notes etc and essays from 16 or so French and other colleagues later this year.


Case Notes

2013

Simon Whittaker, 'Good Faith, Implied Terms and Commercial Contracts' (2013) 129 Law Quarterly Review [...]

This note concerns the decions of the High Court in Yam Seng Ptd. Ltd. v International Trade Corporation [2013] EWHC 111 (QB).


2011

Simon Whittaker, 'Unfair Contract Terms, Unfair Prices and Bank Charges' (2011) 74 Modern Law Review 106 [...]

This note assesses the decision of the UK Supreme Court in the 'Bank Charges' case in the light of the decision of the case-law of the ECJ


Others

2011

Simon Whittaker, 'Comments on ‘Abuse of Law’ in European Private Law' (2011)

Reports

2009

Simon Whittaker, 'The \'Draft Common Frame of Reference\': An Assessment' (Ministry of Justice of the United Kingdom 168 pages 2009)


Research Projects

European Contract Law

Interests

Teaching: Comparative Private Law; Comparative Public Law; Contract; Restitution; Roman Law; Tort

Research: Comparative Law, Contract and Tort, European Union Law.

Other details

Correspondence address:

St John's College
Oxford, OX1 3JP





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