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General Terms and Conditions

Alessia Dedual, Mercator Award Winner 2019

Legal Consequences of Abusive General Terms and Conditions

Alessia Dedual's research dealt with an everyday problem: the small print in general terms and conditions. In our everyday lives we constantly encounter it - for example when opening a bank account or signing up for a mobile phone subscription. Even lawyers sometimes sign such contracts without considering the small print.

Since they know that general terms and conditions are often not read, authors are sometimes tempted to formulate the contents of the contract in their favor. It is for the courts to review such improper terms and conditions. In her dissertation, Alessia Dedual examined the correct legal consequences of dealing with general terms and conditions. The Federal Supreme Court has not yet ruled on this.

As attorney Dedual pointed out on the basis of an economic analysis, the traditional legal consequences are not sufficient to induce the authors of general terms and conditions to comply with the law. "The general terms and conditions should therefore already have been examined by the courts when they come onto the market. This is the only way for customers to accept them without worrying - even without knowing the small print," explains Alessia Dedual. Her dissertation "Geltungserhaltende Reduktion" was published by the Verlag Mohr Siebeck.