French Contract Law is a quite old field of law, considerably rich from an intellectual standpoint.
It is interesting to point out some of its basic features to non-French lawyers, students and scholars.
Code civil and case law
The general principles governing French Contract Law were established by the 1804 civil code, the Code civil (http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCode.do?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006070721&dateTexte=20140315 – you have access to an English version of it, even if not perfectly up-to-date at http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/Traductions/en-English/Legifrance-translations). These articles (among the most important are articles 1101 to 1233) were very neatly written, and have been hardly modified over the past two centuries.
However, they have been largely completed by case law, in particular by decision making of the French Supreme Court’s (Cour de cassation), and by the work of the legal doctrine, i.e. law professors and lawyers who study legal provisions and case law and come up with interpretations, suggestions and solutions.
By Bruno DONDERO,
professor at Paris 1 Panthéon – Sorbonne University