The expression “social function of private law”, which clearly recalls the works of Emilio Betti, expresses a working hypothesis and urges scholars to investigate about the attitude of the contemporary private law – in its various phases – to interpret and grant values, needs, demands coming from society and, secondly, to translate them in our legal system, either in the legislative solutions, or in the
answers coming from the case law. The Italian Constitution of 1948 (art. 42, paragraph II) states the principle of the restriction of the rights on private property “in order to ensure its social function”. This purpose was gradually elevated to very important principle by the doctrine of private law of some decades ago, so that the law may no longer remain entrenched behind an alleged technical neutrality, but it is rather called to assume a role towards the various economic and social interests.
The contributions collected in this volume intend to verify the above premise by means of a wide-spectrum, beyond the traditional view of the law of obligations and contracts proposed by Emilio Betti, as well as the dominical area of the property right indicated in the Constitutional Charter. The research should also extend, therefore, to commercial and family law, to labor relations, as well as the judicial dimension of the protection of rights (through the civil procedure). What emerges is the prospect of a new perspective, in the direction of a strong functionalism, of private law, beyond the reduction or adjustment of the individual interests to the public purposes and needs, in the attempt to harmonize sensitivity and diverse cultural approaches to private law within a framework of social values shared.