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European Contract Law presents Contract or Property?

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Presentation on theme: "European Contract Law presents Contract or Property?"— Presentation transcript:

1 European Contract Law presents Contract or Property?

2 Definition: A “debt” is a sum due under contract or otherwise (Dawson v. Great Northern & City Ry [1905]) Usually a sum of money A contractual right Various forms e.g. mortgages, rights to (not)perform, usage rights and in this case the example of the promissory note What is a debt?

3 English Law: “A promissory note is an unconditional promise in writing made by one person to another signed by the maker, engaging to pay, on demand or at a fixed or determinable future time, a sum certain in money, to, or to the order of, a specified person or to bearer.” (Bills of Exchange Act 1882) German Law: “Schuldschein” (§952 BGB) French Law: “Reconaissance de dette” (Art Code Civil) What is a promissory note? Nature: 1) A debt owed by the debtor to the creditor/bearer 2) A debt owed in physical form 3) Needs to be signed by the debtor, not by creditor

4 What is property? To bind the purchaser and the debtor automatically Assignable (!) For a right to be proprietary, it needs to be: [“Assignment” (English law) known as “Abtretung/Zession” (German law) and “Cession” (French law)]

5 What is the principle of assignment? English law: “An assignment is a transaction whereby a right is transferred by its owner, called the assignor, to another person, called the assignee, as a result of which the assignee becomes entitled to sue the person liable, called the debtor” (Ius commune casebook “Contract Law”,p.935; Beale, Hartkamp, Ko ̈ tz, Tallon [2002]) Law of Property Act 1925: No consideration or notice necessary German law: “A claim or debt may, by agreement or between the creditor and another, be transferred by the former to the latter (assignment), Upon the conclusion of such an agreement, the new creditor takes the place of the former creditor” (§398 BGB) French law: 1) The assignee is not treated as acquiring the debt as against third parties until the debtor has been notified. 2) However, acceptance of the assignment by the debtor in a notarial act also vests the debt in the assignee. (Art C.Civil)

6 Conlusion: Contract or Property? Debts can be in certain cases be considered as property while simultaneously being contractual rights. Bibliography: Property Law, Roger J. Smith [2009]; The law of Contract, Edwin Peel [2007]; Anson’s Law of Contract, J. Beatson [2002]; Contract Law, Ewan McKendrick [2009]; Ius commune casebook Contract Law, H.Beale, A.Hartkamp, H. Ko ̈ tz, D. Tallon [2002]; BGB


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