The French Law of Contract

The French Law of Contract

The French Law of Contract

The French Law of Contract


Written primarily for lawyers and law students in the Common law world, this book explains the principles of the French law of contract and compares them with those of other European legal systems. This second edition, which assumes no prior knowledge of French law, is written from the standpoint of a Common lawyer familiar with the problems which the law of contract deals with in a modern Western society. Consideration is given, in this fully updated edition, to recent developments in the obligation to disclose information, third party rights in "groups of contracts," unfair contract terms, and the seller's liability for latent defects.


For the reasons indicated on pp. 18-19 French law changes less quickly than English law and this has been true of the law of contract in the last ten years. There are nevertheless a good many differences between this edition and its predecessor. Some are directed to making the presentation clearer or to dealing with matters previously omitted or inadequately addressed. The others take account, I hope, of the significant developments, large and small, that have occurred. Two of the largest were contained in arrêts of the Cour de cassation published just before this book went to the printer: the decision by the first chambre civile to assert a judicial power, without further textual authority, to police clauses abusives (p. 143) and the second intervention of the Assemblée plénière in the contentious matter of 'groups of contracts' (p. 175). The consequences of both decisions remain to be worked out.

In preparing this edition I have been greatly in the debt of reviewers and colleagues. It will not, I hope, be invidious if in this connection I single out Professor John Bell. I am also very grateful to Dr Antony Griffiths, Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, for his help in finding the cover illustration.

B. N.

February 1992
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