Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-8bljj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-24T17:36:50.803Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Chapter 5 - Unfair Terms in Contracts Between Businesses A Comparative Overview in Light of the Common European Sales Law

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 November 2017

Get access

Summary

Introduction

'On fête àpeine le centenaire du Code civil, etpourtant, dans bien des cas, il apparaît déjà comme une législation désorientée au milieu de générations nouvelles, incapable de comprendre leursgoûts ou d'interpréter leurs aspirations. C'est que, depuis un siècle, bien des révolutions se sontproduites, bien des évolutions aussi: économiques, politiques ou sociales.'

This quote comes from the introduction of a French PhD thesis published in 1905. It reveals that already at the start of the previous century, at least some scholars considered the Code civil to be outdated. The author continues by giving examples of these inventions: the steam engine, electricity, trains, etc. It goes without saying that our society has evolved at even a much faster pace since then. So which was true in 1905 is a fortiori true in 2012. The contention that (at least some parts of) the French and Belgian Code civil are outdated, amounts to kicking in an open door.

One striking example of the way contracting has evolved is the use of standard terms. Standard terms are sets of contract terms which are drafted in advance, independently of any specific contractual negotiation and to be used in multiple contracts. The codifications of the 19th century, however, envisage a contract which is concluded between two parties after individual negotiations. Together with the industrial revolution and the corresponding development of a mass society came the mass use of standard contracts and standard contract terms. Standard terms are therefore sometimes called a child of the 19th century, but that is not entirely correct. While it is true that at that time the mass application of standard terms began, its origins lie much further back in history. Already in the ancient world, standard terms appeared in rental agreements. In the Middle Ages, pilgrims for the Holy Land often took a boat from Venice. For some time, they could only choose between two shipping companies that used standard terms which were drafted for their sole benefit. To make matters worse, those companies executed their remaining duties poorly. The Mediterranean legislatures of Venice and Genoa therefore intervened with mandatory law.

Type
Chapter

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×