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Contract Law: A Comparative Introduction


This course offers an introduction to contract law from a comparative perspective. Students gain insight into the nature of a contract, the role it plays in society and the principles by which it is governed. The course is comparative throughout, using examples from diverse jurisdictions including German, English, French and Dutch law to illustrate the main rules and principles of the law of contract. The course also addresses contract law at an EU level. Topics addressed include formation of contract, defects of consent, illegality, interpretation, unfair terms, and remedies for breach.




Contract law: a comparative introduction



KNOWLEDGE-define fundamental comparative law terms and contract law terms,-present basic rules in force in Germany, France and England on contract law,-identify key similarities and differences between contract law in civil law jurisdictions and contract law in common law jurisdictions,-compare the process of unification of contract law in Europe with global and American attempts to unify different areas of private law,-compare rules on contract law from PECL and DCFR with national contract law-discuss perspectives of further unification of contract law in the EU;


This is a casebook with an emphasis on Continental law, in a comparative, American-style format, with many references to U.S. and U.K. law. It illustrates the treatment of the most important topics of contract law by the various civil-law jurisdictions.


Each chapter begins with an introductory exposition, comparing and contrasting the law of the various jurisdictions, with numerous examples. This is followed by cases drawn from France, Brazil, Lithuania, Quebec, Russia, and other jurisdictions, as well as some from the United States. Each chapter ends with a set of exercises. The book serves as a good introduction to the "Principles of European Contract Law," which is the first step taken by Europe towards a pan-European contracts code. It can be used to teach American law students about Continental law in a familiar, case-based, format. It can also be used for teaching comparative contract law to European law students in the Socratic method. A detailed teacher's manual is available.


James Gordley specializes in comparative law, contract law and legal history. He came to Tulane Law School in 2007 from the University of California, Berkeley, where he had been a law faculty member since 1978. He was a fellow at the Institute of Comparative Law at the University of Florence, an associate with the Boston firm of Foley Hoag & Eliot and an Ezra Ripley Thayer Fellow at Harvard before beginning his teaching career.


Several disciplines have developed as separate branches of comparative law, including comparative constitutional law, comparative administrative law, comparative civil law (in the sense of the law of torts, contracts, property and obligations), comparative commercial law (in the sense of business organisations and trade), and comparative criminal law. Studies of these specific areas may be viewed as micro- or macro-comparative legal analysis, i.e. detailed comparisons of two countries, or broad-ranging studies of several countries. Comparative civil law studies, for instance, show how the law of private relations is organised, interpreted and used in different systems or countries. The purposes of comparative law are: 041b061a72


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