Comparative contract law

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course focuses on the principal institutions of contract law from a comparative perspective between common law and civil law systems.
Expected learning outcomes
In particular, the course will provide students:
- ability to rework principles and rules of private law and to apply such knowledge to specific cases;
- ability to interpret legislation systematically; independent capacity to identify the ratio behind each rule;
- ability in applying the comparative method, in consideration of the divergences and convergences of the major European legal traditions.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Courses will be delivered in the classroom or streamed on-line, depending on the evolution of the health emergency and in light of governmental security directives. More details will be provided soon
Course syllabus
After an introduction on historical formation of the law of contract, focusing on the differences between the common law systems and the civil law systems, the course will focus on the most important principles of the law of contracts in the two mentioned systems. It will explain, in particular, the ratio and the historical reasons of the freedom of contract theory, from the one hand, and the contractual justice and the good faith theory, from the other hand, and the consequences that the two theories have on the law of contracts.
Then, the course will focus on a general overview on the law and economics contractual theory, that has had its great diffusion in the North American law system and the consequent understanding of the contract as exchange, in contrast with the opposite view of the contract as agreement.
The course will explain the different ways of conclusions of contracts (unilateral and bilateral contracts), the evolution of the mirror image rule and the main contract's elements, focusing on the different conclusions in the common law and in the civil law systems and, in particular, on the opposition of the two concepts of the civil law "cause" and the common law "consideration".
Afterwards, the course will concentrate on the main characteristics of interpretation of contracts and implied terms theory, the different approaches of the Courts in interpreting contracts and the pros and cons of each of them.
The course will conclude with a focus on breach of contract, damages and specific performance.
a focus on illegality of contract.
Prerequisites for admission
Private law, Constitutional law (not for erasmus students). Exceptionally, students who have not already passed the above mentioned courses may be allowed to attend the course and take the exam afterwards.
Teaching methods
Course will be delivered in 42 hours of lessons.
During the course, after an explanation by the professors, students will discuss each issue together.
Teaching Resources
Students will study their notes from each lesson and the material provided by the professor during the course.
The text book is: J.M. Smits, Contract Law. A Comparative Introduction, 2017.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam will be either a group presentation of a topic explained in class, focusing on each students' legal system or an oral exam.
Course attendance. The attendance of 70% of the classes is mandatory to pass the exam.
IUS/02 - COMPARATIVE PRIVATE LAW - University credits: 6
Lessons: 42 hours
Professor: Marchetti Carlo
Educational website(s)
Fri 14.30
Dipartimento di Diritto Privato e Storia del Diritto - 1° piano