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    The Rome I Regulation on the law applicable to contractual obligations contains several provisions aimed explicitly at the protection of ‘weaker’ contracting parties, such as consumers and employees. However, in addition to this, the interests of weaker parties are sometimes also safeguarded through the application of ‘overriding mandatory provisions’, which are superimposed on the law applicable to the contract to protect a fundamental interest of a Member State. This article is an attempt to clarify the extent to which the concept of overriding mandatory provisions may serve as a vehicle for weaker party protection. To do this, it examines the definition and limitations of the concept and its relation to conflict of laws rules based on the protective principle. Finally, the article seeks to establish whether the doctrine of overriding mandatory provisions remains relevant in the case of harmonisation of substantive law at the EU level, for which it will differentiate between full and minimum harmonisation.


Laura Maria van Bochove Ph.D.
Assistant professor in the Department of Private International and Comparative Law at the Erasmus School of Law. The author would like to thank the reviewers for their comments.
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