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The text focuses on the role of private law in late modernity. It analyzes the pressures for changes in this area of law due to the present processes of privatization and marketization. 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 availible when developing private law? The questions are discussed against the background of theories concerning important features of modern society, like consumerism, risk, information, globalization, and fragmentation. Several fields of private law are analyzed, 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 and includes analysis of both common law and continental law.