Precontractual Liability in European Private Law

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This volume analyses thirteen cases, from the perspective of sixteen national European legal systems, in order to explore the legal nature of the precontractual phase and the liability which may follow a break-off of precontractual negotiations. The precontractual phase is difficult to characterise and analyse in either legal or practical terms. The negotiating parties have begun their journey together, but they are not yet in the relationship – the contract – which is their aim. The negotiations may fail after a lengthy period in which either party may have incurred significant expenses and invested time and effort. The break-off of the negotiations may come as a shock to one party where the negotiations were far advanced, or at least where there was nothing to suggest that they were not likely to lead to their fruition in the contract. The disappointed party is therefore likely to seek a remedy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Review of the hardback: '… succeeds in its aim … an interesting and useful addition to the comparative law literature. … clearly written, thought provoking and a useful reference tool … an excellent addition to the series.' Journal of Business Law

'The greatest strength of the book lies in the sections by its editors. The comparative observations and conclusions are meticulous and insightful. Subtle but important differences emerge between approaches which at first sight seemed uniform, and the conclusion succeeds not just in describing the differences in approach between the Civil Law systems and the Common Law ones, but in offering plausible and closely-reasoned explanations for the reasons underlying those differences … this is an excellent book which greatly exceeds its principal aim of providing the reader with a map of the legal landscape of its immediate subject area. It should be read by academics, practitioners and judges alike.' Edinburgh Law Review

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Product Details

Meet the Author

John Cartwright is Reader in the Law of Contract at the University of Oxford, and Professor of Anglo-American Private Law at the University of Leiden. He is also a Solicitor.

Martijn Hesselink is Professor of European Private Law at the University of Amsterdam and Director of the Centre for the Study of European Contract Law.

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Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction John Cartwright and Martijn Hesselink; Part II. Case Studies: 1. Case 1: Negotiations for premises for a bookshop; 2. Case 2: Negotiations for renewal of a lease; 3. Case 3: Mistake about ownership of land to be sold; 4. Case 4: An architect's preparatory work for a contract which does not materialise; parallel negotiations; 5. Case 5: A broken engagement; 6. Case 6: An express lock-out agreement; 7. Case 7: The breakdown of merger negotiations; 8. Case 8: A shopping centre without a tenant; 9. Case 9: Breakdown of negotiations to build a house for a friend; 10. Case 10: Public bidding; 11. Case 11: A contract for the sale of a house which fails for lack of formality; 12. Case 12: Confidential design information given during negotiations; 13. Case 13: Misrepresentation or silence about a harvester's capacity; Part III: From the common law to the civil law: the experience of Israel Nili Cohen; Part IV. A Law and Economics Perspective on Precontractual Liability Eleonora Melato and Francesco Parisi; Part V. Conclusions John Cartwright and Martijn Hesselink.

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