First published in 1999, this book focuses on the new role of private law in late modernity. It analyses the pressures for changes in this area of law due to the present processes of privatisation and marketisation. The perspective is welfarist: in what ways and to what extent can the welfare state expectations of the citizens be defended through private law mechanisms when state-offered security is diminishing? Which alternatives are available when developing private law? The questions are discussed against the background of theories concerning important features of late modern society, for example consumerism, risk, information, globalisation and fragmentation. Several fields of private law are analysed, such as private law theory, tort and liability law, contract law and credit law as well as access to justice issues. The approach is comparative, including analyses of both common law and continental law.