General Private Law
Research within the field of general private law aims for the overarching, systematic and conceptual questions of private law. The abstract perspective allows us to revisit those problems of private law which are most basic, e.g. those concerning the doctrine of juridical acts or the concepts of property and contract.
This venue of research meets a need for coherence and comprehensibility, a need grown ever more urgent during the last decades. Law, too, is affected by globallization: It is fragmenting, and its sources are becoming harder and harder to survey and account for.
In this situation, identifying and tracking current trends and developments in the life of the law, in courts and elsewhere, becomes crucial. Gradually, new principles emerge and make themselves manifest, the paradigmatic example being the principle of unjust enrichment.
Europeanization could be said to prompt this entire venue of research. The question of Swedish private law is inextricably entwined with the fate of European private law, and this becomes especially clear when the general part is considered – owing to the fact that Swedish private law, historically speaking, is grounded in the rejection of the Civilian tradition.
In later years much of the research within this group has focused on the contract and the limits of contract. Two dissertations engage this theme: Erika P Björkdahl has treated the basis for precontracutal liability, and Joel Samuelsson has investigated the traditional distinction between interpretation and construction of contracts.
In addition there are projects on the legal consequences of contractual nullity, the nature of the interpretation of insurance contracts, the general question of the basis of the doctrine of conract interpretation and the matter of contract networks in construction contracting.
Other areas under scrutiny include the background rules dimension of the contract, e.g. pertaining to the efficacy of the consumer sales legislation with regards to the purchase of digital products, as well as questions well beyond the boundaries of contract law, e.g. concerning the relation between the norms of privatre law and human rights and the attitude of the courts to arguments of “passing on” and unjust enrichment.
Erika P. Björkdahl