On 28th and 29th September 2011 the Institute of European and Comparative Law of the Faculty of Law held a conference on the involvement of EU law in private law relationships. The conference speakers included leading academics in the field of EU law, comparative law and European private law.

The recurring theme of the papers was the scope of policy objectives which are apt to legitimise the European Union’s as yet unsystematic tendency to serve as a source of restrictions of private autonomy, especially in the light of the tensions it sparks with fundamental concepts of national private law systems. The speakers investigated the nature and purpose of the involvement of European Union law in private law relationships from both the substantive and the constitutional perspective. The papers looked at such sectors regulating private law relationships as consumer law, labour law, competition law, equal treatment law and the law of remedies. While focusing on private law relationships they investigated the more general concepts of EU law, such as the Internal Market freedoms and general principles of law, and the doctrines underpinning the effective application of EU secondary law. Each conference session was followed by very lively and engaging discussion between the speakers and the audience.

The event was blessed by extraordinarily gorgeous late summer sunshine, and the intellectual richness was complemented by the opportunity to stroll around the delightful gardens of St Anne's College in vigorous debate. The papers presented at the conference will appear in 2012 in a book edited by Dorota Leczykiewicz and Stephen Weatherill, which will be published by Hart Publishing.

The conference was supported by a generous grant from the British Academy.