The Law Society has welcomed an important concession from the European Parliament on the proposed common European sales law.

Following lobbying by Chancery Lane, the new instrument is now to be applied only to contracts involving distance selling, particularly online transactions.

The European Parliament’s legal affairs committee last week published its draft report on the sales law. MEPs will debate it and member states will have the opportunity to propose amendments before it becomes law.

The proposed new law, announced in October 2011, was intended to apply to all cross-border contracts for the sale of goods and for the supply of digital content, such as video, audio and digital games. It was also to cover related service contracts, such as installation, maintenance and repair.

However, most other services, including financial services, were to be excluded.

The Law Society has been critical of the proposed new law since it was announced, arguing that even after a body of case law had been developed, it would still be difficult to ensure the new system was uniformly applied across all 27 EU member states.

Despite the concession, Chancery Lane says it remains unconvinced of the benefits of the proposed law, which it says could complicate cross-border transactions and increase complexity for businesses and consumers.

Society chief executive Desmond Hudson (pictured) said: ‘We are pleased that members of the European Parliament are taking account of our concerns and propose to limit [the law’s] scope. We will continue to engage constructively with the policymakers to ensure that the concerns of our members are properly heard.’