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Smit, Hans, Galston, Nina M., Levitsky, Serge L. (eds.), International Contracts, New York 1981

Smit, Hans, Galston, Nina M., Levitsky, Serge L. (eds.), International Contracts, New York 1981

The German scholar Ihering, in a famous article published in 1861,6 introduced the doctrine of culpa in contrahendo, anchored in the notion of good faith. The doctrine of liability for "fault in negotiating" has been received in various guises from Paris to Buenos Aires.7


Rabel's summary is useful advice in guiding international negotiating:

"The doctrine [of culpa in contrahendo] is above all a liability for negligently incorrect communications, or negligent failure to communicate during contractual negotiations."21

[Subsequently set out in detail.]

6Culpa in contrahendo oder Schadensersatz bei nichtigen oder nicht zur Perfektion gelangten Verträgen, 4 Jahrbücher für die Dogmatik des Heutigen Römischen und Deutschen Privatrechts 1 (1861), 1 von Ihering, Gesammelte Aufsätze 327 (1881), discussed in Fuller & Perdue, The Reliance Interest in Contract Damages, 46 Yale L.J. 52, 86 (1936); Patterson, Equitable Relief for Unilateral Mistake, 28 Colum. L. Rev. 859, 886 (1928).
7Culpa in contrahendo doctrine has profoundly affected Austrian and Swiss law. French courts and doctrine refer to "abus de droit". Ostheim has most recently brougth up to date the leading German an Austrina decisions, Ostheim, Zur Haftung für culpa in contrahendo bei grundloser Ablehnung des Vertragsabschlusses, Jurusitsche Blätter 1980, 522; Cám. Civ. Capital (2a inst.) Aug. 30, 1960, Jur. Arg. 1965, IV, 301 ("arbitrary" breaking off of negotiations is culpa in contrahendo).
211 E. Rabel, op. cit. supra note 4 [E. Rabel, Das Recht des Warenkaufs (1936)], at §24.

Referring Principles
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