Civil Society Constitutionalism: The Power of Contract Law

Marc Amstutz, Andreas Abegg, and Vaios Karavas
University of Freiburg, Switzerland

This article argues that the vision of a social law of contract is exhibited in the judgment of the Swiss Federal Court in Post v. Verein gegen Tierfabriken (“VgT”). The judgment is one of a law of contract that interacts with a community of the subjects instead of the individual subjects of a community. This paper contends that law today has the task of providing for the areas of social autonomy from which “civil society” is built up and in which, at the same time, the increasing social fragmentation can be overcome piecemeal. The article argues that conceiving contract law as civil society constitutionalism, as the constitution not of the state but of society, is the jurisprudential task for our time.

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