Transparency in Contracts
I am – I am proud to declare – a Transparency Extremist.
A confidence only differs from a conspiracy in its motive; but if it is secret, how can we know?
As well as open-book accounting, true commercial transparency needs transparency in contracts; and this is easy to implement. The law of contracts should be changed so that no contract is enforceable unless it is published; and the effective date of any contract cannot be earlier than the date on which it is published.
While we are at it, we should clarify competition law and its position on agreements between undertakings. Agreements between undertakings which distort competition in the EU Single Market are unlawful, whether they are in writing or not. Any unpublished, confidential or secret agreement distorts competition because competitors do not know what is in it: ergo, it should not merely be unenforceable but also unlawful, so that the parties to it are liable to the standard fines for anti-competitive behaviour.