On the 22nd of January the Project Group on the Restatement of European Insurance Contract Law held what is likely to be the first of many public conferences to discuss the fruits of their labour. These fruits, the recently published and impressively weighty Principles of European Insurance Contract Law (PEICL), were the subject of a compelling and wide ranging discussion over the course of the day. Assembled for those purposes was a diverse range of practising lawyers, insurance practitioners, academics, politicians and a number of members of ETL.
Stimulated by a set of presentations from those involved in the authorship of the Principles, augmented by views from the consumer, insurance and intermediary perspectives, the potential impact of the Principles on the rules and working of insurance contracts, as well as the gaps within them, were subject to rigorous scrutiny and discussion.
Aside from the substantive issue of insurance law, the day saw an extended discussion of the relationship between national legal cultures and pan European legal structures. The vocation of the current age for Principled restatements of common cores often raises these deeper and more pressing questions of how best to implement them into substantive law, if at all. In that regard the presentation early in the day from Diana Wallis (MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament and former solicitor) examining the political realities of implementing PEICL into law was of singular interest and many other such conferences could learn from the benefits in soliciting such a unique and valuable viewpoint.
Whether you hold a torch for insurance contracting it is undoubted that PEICL will be the basis of much discussion and dissemination in the coming months and years. Where the will to implement it may fail, its likely role as a common, cross border framework or interpretive tool for judges and arbitrators demands the attention of all concerned.