This chapter seeks to provide the reader with an overview of the legal framework of contracts in the most relevant legal traditions. To this end, it focuses consecutively, from a comparative perspective, on: (a) contracts’ constitutive elements; (b) their formation; (c) the effects of pre-contractual fault (culpa in contrahendo); (d) contractual form, interpretation, gap filling and correction of contracts; (e) standard contract terms; (f) absence of and defects in parties’ consent; (g) contracts’ effects in the relations between the parties and in respect of third parties; (h) the control of contractual fairness; and (i) the performance and non-performance of contractual obligations. It concludes with an analysis of the principles underlying contractual enforceability, namely private autonomy, protection of reliance, contractual fairness and economic efficiency.
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