Edited by Fabrizio Cafaggi
Chapter 5: Contractual Networks in German Private Law
5. Contractual networks in German private law Stefan Grundmann PRACTICAL IMPORTANCE AND STRUCTURES (PHENOMENOLOGY) 1. In this first section, we briefly look at the importance and phenomena of networks of contracts (sub-sections 1.1 and 1.2). The core questions, however, do not depend so much on this phenomenology, but rather on the design of the contractual relationship (see below sub-section 1.3). What is important from the outset is the nexus: it is characteristic of networks of contracts that a plurality of contracts, in the perception of the partners, are linked in such a way that only their interaction can guarantee success for all. To this extent, the contracts are ‘linked’ or ‘interconnected’,1 although, on the other hand, not all participants enter 1 This characterisation is sufficient basis for the discussion in this text, and nobody questions the fact that the nexus extends at least that far. See references in the next footnote. The term ‘network of contracts’ is used in the following for all such combinations of contracts irrespective of whether it is in form of stars, chains, triangles or circles (see below 1.2), because, as explained below, the form does not really influence the legal treatment. For other attempts to define this term, see literature cited in this chapter and from the German speaking literature: M. Amstutz, ‘Vertragskollisionen: Fragmente für eine Lehre von der Vertragsverbindung’, Festschrift for Rey 2003, 161–76; P. Krebs, Sonderverbindung und außerdeliktische Schutzpflichten, (Munich: Beck, 2000); J. Oechsler, Gerechtigkeit im modernen Austauschvertrag – Die...
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