ELI Proposal for a Regulation on a Common European Sales Law

Quick Facts

Project Type and Output: Statement, complemented by:

Procedure: Normal
Adopted: CD 2012/5
Project Period: September 2012
September 2016


A selection of citations about the project is available here.


The ELI Team critically examined the European Commission's Proposal for a Regulation establishing a Common European Sales Law (CESL), making a number of practical recommendations designed to facilitate the achievement of its underlying policy objectives. The Team’s initial output was complemented by two subsequent supplements addressing further developments at EU level.



On 19 July 2011 the ELI Council identified the European Commission’s work on a proposed European contract law optional instrument as an important development. Consequently, an ELI Working Party and an Advisory Panel were established to consider this proposal.

The Executive Committee appointed ten internationally renowned experts as members of the Working Party and a further ten as members of the Advisory Panel.


CESL Statement 2012

The first stage of the Working Party's activities focused on examining the European Commission's Proposal for a Regulation establishing a Common European Sales Law (CESL).

The Working Party critically examined the CESL, making a number of practical recommendations designed to facilitate the achievement of its underlying policy objectives. However, it did not examine the political dimensions relating to the CESL or its treaty basis. Both issues are of high importance for the success of the CESL, but they are a matter of political controversy rather than falling within the objectives that the Working Party had undertaken.

The work was completed and subsequently endorsed as a Statement by the ELI Council in September 2012 (CD 2012/5). The full text of the Statement can be found in the publications section of the website.

The fact that the CESL Statement was received very positively has been underlined by the Draft Report of the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) of 18 February 2013, which has taken many ideas suggested by the ELI on board.


1st Supplement to the CESL Statement 2014

In order to take account of political developments and discussions following the CESL Statement’s publication, the Working Party resumed its work and commenced stage two of this project. Marco Loos joined the team and Hugh Beale joined the Advisory Panel in order to strengthen its expertise in matters related to e-commerce, digital content and distance contracts.

The first draft results of the work-in-progress were presented in September 2013 at the ELI annual Projects Conference in Vienna, where they were debated with ELI members and representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament. Taking into account the feedback received, as well as further comments from ELI Fellows and Council members, the members of the Working Group finalised their work.

The approved 1st Supplement to the CESL Statement is a reaction to the September 2013 Report of the JURI Committee and the subsequent European Parliament's Legislative Resolution of 26 February 2014. It deals largely with the possible limitation of the CESL’s scope to distance contracts as well as legal issues concerning cloud computing and digital content.


2nd Supplement to the CESL Statement 2015

In May 2015, the European Commission adopted a Digital Single Market Strategy. The ELI welcomed this development and in order to refer to the European Commission’s change of approach, the ELI Working Group prepared the 2nd Supplement to the Statement of the ELI on the Proposal for a Regulation on a CESL. The Supplement sets out the approach, which the Working Party concluded in April 2015 and forms the first part of what will be a longer-term project within which the ELI might develop a detailed draft legislative proposal.

The document aims at providing clear recommendations for the EU Institutions in terms of how to further develop the Proposal for the Digital Single Market. The Working Group underlined, that the Proposal has to be drafted in as clear and as straightforward a way as possible, provide a high level of customer protection and place a focus on legal certainty.

The Statement as well as the 1st and 2nd supplement are available for free download.


  • Sir John Thomas

Redaction Committee

  • John Sorabji
  • Matthias Storme 
  • Christiane Wendehorst

Working Party

  • Lars Edlund
  • Paul Gilligan
  • Rafael Illescas
  • Peter Limmer
  • Pilar Perales Viscasillas
  • Fryderyk Zoll

Advisory Panel

  • Fabrizio Cafaggi
  • Remo Caponi
  • Sjef van Erp
  • Johan Gernandt
  • Ole Lando
  • Hans Micklitz
  • Denis Philippe
  • Lajos Vékás
  • Carole Aubert de Vincelles
  • Friedrich Graf von Westphalen