Conclusion

European Union law leaves it essentially to the Member States whether they rely primarily on public or private enforcement or a combination of them. Private and public enforcement of the law based on the UCP Directive are basically considered to be equivalent. However, this chapter has demonstrated that the procedural autonomy of the Member States is limited. That concerns first of all cross-border cases. Secondly, under certain circumstances, the principle of effectiveness requires Member States to implement particular enforcement instruments in their domestic law. In light of the seminal case law of the ECJ in Munoz, Courage and Manfredi, this paper has shown that based on the principle of full effectiveness Member States must strengthen private enforcement by private actions if this is the only way to ensure effective enforcement and to impose effective, dissuasive and proportionate sanctions. That may be even the case if public enforcement mechanisms exist. Due to the full harmonization approach of the UCP Directive there is an increased need to focus on the requirement that sanctions have to be proportionate.

The issue of effective enforcement of the UCP Directive comprises manifold aspects which are still awaiting intensive research and discussion. This chapter set out three main aspects: Since in most Member States there is a combination of various private and public enforcement instruments, it is crucially necessary to coordinate optimally the available enforcement instruments with one another. That concerns - where available - public and private enforcement as well as collective and individual redress. Over-enforcement by opening the flood gates to a wave of civil, administrative and penal sanctions should be avoided. Public and private enforcement should complement each other in an optimum way. Secondly, if Member States rely on private enforcement either alone or in combination with public enforcement balanced rules exist, especially in regard to civil proceedings. And thirdly, in the light of globalization, the issue of enforcement of the UCP Directive does not stop at the borders of the European Union. Therefore, solutions which go beyond the European Union are required.

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