Chapter 6: Linked Contracts Under French Law
Carole Aubert de Vincelles To date, contractual networks are a general structure of contracts relationships, which can be found both in Business to Business (B to B) or Business to Consumer (B to C) relationships. The difference between these two businesses relationships is the complexity of the networks. Among the different issues arising from contractual networks, this contribution will especially focus on ‘linked contracts’, that is, how to link different contracts; how to make them dependent; and what might be the consequences of such a link. We use the expression ‘linked contracts’ because this is a neutral term, without legal meaning. Under French law, the expression used to express linked contracts in general is ‘groupes de contrats’1 or ‘ensemble contractuel’, which can be translated as ‘contractual unity’ or ‘contractual set’. Generally speaking, different national laws do not mention these kinds of new contractual structure. The main reason is that French law considers the contract as an individual unit. Therefore a general approach is not allowed in the French civil code, the provisions of which date from 1804. It is possible that there may be developments in the very near future regarding the content of the draft on the reform of French contract law. Actually, this draft details few provisions in relation to linked contracts.2 One of the first areas where it was necessary to understand different contracts as a whole was that of credit, when credit is necessary to finance a sale or a service. In that context, the French...
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