18 May 2021

Call for papers: Ius Commune Workshop on Empirical Contract Law

The workshop will take place on 25 November 2021 and it seeks to provide an opportunity for legal scholars to present their most recent empirical studies in the field of contract law. Early-stage contributions where the data has not yet been collected and analyzed are also invited.

The use of empirical methods to study contracts has been pioneered by Stewart Macaulay who conducted interviews with business owners to learn about their reliance on contract law in governing commercial relationships. Since then, the use of empirical methods in contract law has expanded and nowadays empirical research provides insights into various contractual legal issues. Researchers use systematic content analysis to study court judgments in contractual disputes or the terms of different types of contracts. Others implement surveys or experimental methods to examine people’s perceptions of contract terms or contractual behavior such as misrepresentation or breach. These methods have also been used to address questions relevant to theoretical underpinnings of contract law such as the meaning of a promise or consideration in contractual relationships. Finally, many empirical studies specifically targeted issues related to consumer contracts and looked, for instance, at the reading of contracts, consumers’ reactions to disclosures or unfair commercial practices.

The current workshop seeks to provide an opportunity for legal scholars to present their most recent empirical studies in the field of contract law. We also invite early-stage contributions where the data has not yet been collected and analyzed. We hope that this way the workshop will provide an overview of the state-of-the-art empirical research in contract law and an opportunity to receive feedback and discuss the planned research design and data collection method.

Researchers interested in presenting their empirical results or research designs should submit a 500-word abstract to Monika Leszczynska (Maastricht University), monika.leszczynska[at]maastrichtuniversity[dot]nl. In the abstract, please clearly indicate whether you would like to present an early stage or an advanced stage project. The advanced stage projects must be not yet published.

Deadline: July 15, 2021

On behalf of the Ius Commune Research School, programme ‘Contract Law and Law of Obligations in General’

By: Monika Leszczynska and Caroline Cauffman