Principes Latino- Américain du droit des contrats: formation, cause et invalidité

Authors: Yves-Marie Laithier


La comparaison entre les Principes Latino-américains et le droit français des contrats – qui se limite
dans le cadre de cette contribution, d’une part, à la lettre des textes, d’autre part, à la formation,
à la cause et à l’invalidité du contrat – fait apparaître des ressemblances et des différences. Le
nombre de points communs est élevé, ce qui n’est pas surprenant compte tenu du contexte juridique
et culturel respectif des deux points de comparaison. Il existe cependant des différences
significatives dont certaines sont explicites alors que d’autres procèdent du silence conservé par
les Principes sur certains aspects.
It is generally admitted that comparison is a method that involves looking for and explaining
both similarities and differences between the objects of research. Assuming the meaning of such
concepts is clear, the results of a brief comparison between the recent Latin American Principles of
Contract Law and the French Law of Contract would be as follows. First and predictably, the number
of similarities is high. Some are related to form (style and structure of the principles). Others
are related to substantial issues: the paramount importance of freedom of contract and good faith,
the existence of vitiating factors such as mistake, fraudulent misrepresentation and duress, the general requirement of a cause (even though the word no longer appears in the French civil code
after the 2016 reform), the judicial character of annulment or the distinction between ‘absolute
nullity’ and ‘relative nullity’. Secondly there are, however, significant differences. In my view, some
rules are interesting and their ‘transplant’ in French law is worth considering (for example the
rule about the assessment of damages where an obligation of confidentiality is breached during
negotiations). Others should clearly be rejected (especially the vague, insecure and repulsive rule
against « excessive advantage »). Thirdly, there are ‘silences’. Although they may be ambiguous and
difficult to interpret, some of them are real gaps that should be filled in (the absence of rules on
precontractual agreements and standard terms are striking examples).

Keywords: Contract Law – Comparative Law – French Law – Latin-American Law