At lunchtime today, Alexis Downe, lecturer in Toulouse University 1 Capitole and visiting lecturer here in Trinity, gave a staff seminar on “The reform of French Contract Law: a brief overview”. The fundamentals of French private law in general, and of the Law of Contract in particular, are largely unchanged in the Code civil (first edition cover pictured left) since it was adopted in 1804. Nevertheless, there have been significant social changes, from the nineteenth century’s industrial revolution, to the twentieth century’s two world wars, to the twenty-first century’s information age. In many ways, the current process of reform is intended to allow French contract law to catch up with these and other developments. In this post, I provide some background to the current process of reform of French contract law, and then discuss Alexis’s paper.
Earlier this year, I wrote a post on this blog about French reform of Contract Law in comparative context, constructed around Bénédicte Fauvarque-Cosson‘s article on “The French Contract Law Reform in a European Context” (2014) ELTE Law Journal 59. To the story told in that post should be added the English translation (pdf) (by John Cartwright and Simon Whittaker) of the Catala Avant-projet (pdf) and academic discussions of those drafts in England and France. I have these links courtesy of a post from the Oxford Law Faculty news feed, which picks up the story from the point at which my earlier post leaves off:
After considerable debate … the Government was granted the authority to proceed. The draft law (in the form of an Ordonnance) concerning contract and obligations in general was published in February of 2015 so as to allow a brief period of consultation: the draft text can be seen here, and further information is available here. ….
John Cartwright and Simon Whittaker, together with Bénédicte Fauvarque-Cosson … were asked by the French Ministry of Justice to provide an official translation into English: this has now been published and is available on the Ministry website. …
The text of the draft Ordonnance, revised by the Ministry of Justice after the consultation was closed, has gone to the Conseil d’Etat for scrutiny and then, subject to its views, it will be published and enacted in its final form … before the end of the first semester (2016). …