All entries for Wednesday 14 November 2012

November 14, 2012

Comparison of defect of consent in England, France and Germany



In this three countries, we have not the same definition of the contract. In France, the contract is based on the consent. Article 1101 code civil : “une convention par laquelle une ou plusieurs personnes s'obligent, envers une ou plusieurs autres, à donner, à faire ou à ne pas faire quelque chose”. In common law, the contract is defines as “a promise or a set of promises that the law will enforce”. There is a principle in english law : “if a man has made a deliberate statement, and another has acted upon it, he cannot be at liberty to deny the truth of the statement he has made”.

In german law, the “Willenstheorie” is very important. The contract is : “Der Vertrag ist ein Rechtsgeschäft. Es besteht aus inhaltlich übereinstimmenden, mit Bezug aufeinander abgegebenen Willenserklärungen (Angebot und Annahme) von mindestens zwei Personen.

 Durch den Grundsatz der Vertragsfreiheit (Privatautonomie) wird sichergestellt, dass jeder Mensch das Recht hat, im Rahmen der Gesetze seine Verhältnisse durch Verträge eigenverantwortlich zu gestalten

It is very important to understand what is a contract in this different countries to understand the different theories of defect of consent.

In France and Germany, there is a real theorie that doesn't exist in england.


Then, description and comparison of the different defect of consent :

France : erreur, dol, violence

England : misrepresentation, mistake, duress, undue influence and unconscionability

Germany : Irrtum, Täuschung and Drohung




Sources :


  • code civil français, 1804

  • BGB


  • Cartwright, Misrepresentation, mistake and non disclosure, Thomson, Sweet and Maxwell ; 2007

  • Eliott C. and Quinn F., Contract law, 3e édition Longmann ; 2001

  • Fages Bertrand, Droit des obligations, LGDG Lextenso éditions ; 2009

  • Hess-Fallon Brigitte et Simon Anne-Marie, Droit civil, Sirey ; 2007



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