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International Symposium on ‘Unfair Terms in Banking and Finance Contracts’

Date of news: 29 October 2021

On 14 and 15 October a two-day conference on 'Unfair Terms in Banking and Finance Contracts' took place in Vienna. The conference was jointly organised by Professor of Financial Law Danny Busch and Professor of Comparative Law Matthias Lehmann (University of Vienna) under the auspices of the European Banking Institute (EBI) in Frankfurt, the Vienna Institute of Comparative Law and the Radboud Business Law Institute in Nijmegen.

The conference brought together leading experts from seventeen countries within and outside the European Union to discuss and compare how different legal systems deal with unfair terms in banking and other financial contracts. These include, for example, terms in consumer loans that give the bank the authority to raise interest rates unilaterally. In addition to a large group of international academics, there were also a number of practicing legal experts present.

The purpose of the conference was to identify the similarities and differences between the various legal systems, so that conclusions could be drawn on the effectiveness of the European rules on unfair terms. One of the preliminary conclusions is that in some countries the European rules are hardly applied by national judges. Another conclusion is that the European rules themselves and the rulings of the European Court of Justice on the subject are certainly not interpreted in the same way in all countries. This undermines the level playing field for banks and other financial institutions in Europe. The results will be compiled in a book edited by Busch and Lehmann and published by Oxford University Press.