Originally, private law was considered to be immune from the effect of fundamental rights, the function of which was limited to being individual defenses against the vigilant eye of the state. This traditional view, however, has been put under pressure as a result of the growing effect of fundamental rights in private law, which makes it possible to speak about the tendency towards the constitutionalization of private law. Although until recently this tendency has primarily manifested itself in the national law of many EU Member States as a result of the readiness of the domestic courts to grant effect to fundamental rights embodied in national constitutions and international human rights instruments in purely private law disputes, an interesting perspective on the issue is also provided by EU law. The aim of this article is to trace in EU law the signs of the developments which have been occurring in national legal systems with regard to the effect of fundamental rights in private law, and, in the light of this, to outline possible directions in the evolution of the relationship between private law, on the one hand, and EC fundamental freedoms and EU fundamental rights, on the other, in the context of EU law.
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