Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 January 2020
We are delighted to introduce this book, which has been developed from the very successful doctoral thesis which Professor Zuloaga defended at the University of Oxford in 2017. We first saw her work as a Master's student when she took our course on comparative contract law in the MJur at Oxford, and later we shared the supervision of her research for her DPhil thesis.
Professor Zuloaga has put her own stamp on the topic of precontractual liability. Indeed, before she came to Oxford, her interest had already been sparked during the studies for her law degree at the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Santiago, Chile, where she wrote a dissertation on this general area, published as Teoría de la Responsabilidad Precontractual: Aplicaciones en la Formación del Consentimiento de los Contratos (Santiago, Legal Publishing Chile, 2008). Her work for the doctoral thesis – presented now in this book – takes her research to a broader and significantly deeper level. It offers an English-speaking audience a Latin American perspective on the topic, introducing readers to the Chilean approach to precontractual liability, as well as the more well-known approaches taken in the continental European civil law systems such as German and French law. But it also addresses head-on the difficulties which arise from comparing the approaches taken by civil law systems and common law systems to precontractual liability for breaking off negotiations.
Professor Zuloaga's theme is ‘reliance’ in the process of negotiations; ‘reliance’ is a term that has to be examined carefully, and Professor Zuloaga finds in it two distinct but related dimensions, ‘trust-based’ reliance and ‘expectationbased’ reliance. Her argument is that the other party's ‘reliance’ can justify the imposition of liability on the party who breaks off negotiations – but that such notions of reliance already underlie the approaches to precontractual liability taken by the civil law systems which she selects for detailed study, i.e., her ‘selected jurisdictions’ (Germany, France and Chile).