Vol. 4.4 December 2000

Ius Commune Lectures on European Private Law, 1

The Ius Commune Lectures on European Private Law are published under the auspices of the Ius Commune Research School. This Research School consists of the Law Faculties of Maastricht University, Utrecht University and the Catholic University of Leuven, and is directed towards research in the field of European Private Law and related subjects. Associated members of the School are the Law Faculty of the Free University Amsterdam, the Law Faculty of the Université de Liège and individual members of the University of Amsterdam.


Cite as: H.L. MacQueen, Scots Law and the Road to the New Ius Commune, vol 4.4 ELECTRONIC JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE LAW, (December 2000), <http://www.ejcl.org/ejcl/44/art44-1.html>


Hector L. MacQueen(1)

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A. Rules of Civilian origin
A.1 No consideration - the unilateral promise
A.2 Irrevocable offers and postal acceptances
A.3 Contracts for the benefit of third parties
A.4 Performance as the primary right of a creditor
A.5 The exceptio non adimpleti contractus - retention
B. Rules of Common Law origin
B.1 Unified concept of breach
B.2 Repudiation as breach
B.3 'Self-help' remedies for non-performance
B.4 Undisclosed principal in agency/representation

When a Scottish lawyer comes to Utrecht, he thinks at once of his eighteenth-century predecessor, James Boswell, the biographer of Dr Samuel Johnson. Boswell was in a gloomy frame of mind when he arrived in the town to study law at the University in September 1763, and this seems to have quickly turned to depression, as he wrote to Johnson:(2)

I arrived at Utrecht on a Saturday evening. I went to the Nouveau Château d'Anvers. I was shown up to a high bedroom with old furniture, where I had to sit and be fed by myself. At every hour the bells of the great tower played a dreary psalm tune. A deep melancholy seized upon me. I groaned with the idea of living all winter in so shocking a place. . . . I sunk quite into despair. I thought that at length the time was come that I should grow mad. I actually believed myself so. I went out to the streets, and even in public could not refrain from groaning and weeping bitterly. . . . Tortured in this manner I determined to leave Utrecht . . .

I am glad to say that later Boswell returned to his studies in Utrecht, where he also managed to conduct a literary friendship with Belle de Zuylen (perhaps better known as Madame Charriere, a novelist in French) and a love affair with the widowed Madam Geelvinck. I can also report that, even though unexciting tunes still ring out from the Dom Kerk, teaching European contract law at Utrecht has been one of the most enjoyable and stimulating experiences of my academic career. Perhaps however one would get closer to Boswell's perspective by asking the students whom I taught whether the course drove them out into the city streets to indulge in public as well as private grief.

Boswell's presence in Utrecht reflects a crucial aspect of the history of Scots law. In that history influences from the Common Law of England have been unavoidable from the beginning and waxed particularly strong after the Union of the Parliaments of the two kingdoms, with a common legislature, final court of appeal (the House of Lords), and the familiarity which comes from proximity, accessibility and a common language. But unlike English law, Scots law was also open from the very beginning to what was to become the Continental European ius commune (common law). The substance of the law was much affected by the universal law of the church (the canon law) and the Roman or Civil law taught in the Continental universities at which until the eighteenth century many Scots lawyers underwent their initial legal education. A further effect was that when Scots lawyers wrote treatises on their law, they used the systematics and concepts of the learned laws of Europe, further reinforcing its ius commune characteristics. If this Civilian dimension weakened after the 1707 Union, and in particular from the Victorian era on, Scots law nonetheless remains significantly distinct from that of England, and in comparative law terms it is correctly classified as a 'mixed' system.(3)

In 1924 the distinguished French comparatist Professor Lévy Ullmann observed that 'Scots law gives us a picture of what will be some day the law of the civilised nations, namely a combination between the Anglo-Saxon and the Continental system'.(4) Fifty years later two equally distinguished German comparatists, Professors Zweigert and Kötz, wrote (in the translation of Tony Weir):

. . . it is clear that Scots law deserves particular attention from comparative lawyers as a special instance of the symbiosis of the English and Continental legal traditions; this may be of some assistance to those who embark on the great project of the future, namely to procure a gradual approximation of Civil Law and Common Law.(5)

However, it is, I think, fair to say that despite these very flattering remarks Scots law has not in fact received much attention from comparative lawyers outside Scotland itself.(6) Thus it is not altogether surprising to find that, in the recent renaissance of interest in the idea of harmonising and unifying the private law of Europe, perhaps even in the form of a European Civil Code, relatively little attention has been given to Scots law as a potential model for (in the words of Zweigert and Kötz) 'a gradual approximation of the Civil Law and Common Law'. Indeed Scots lawyers themselves seem at times to lack faith in the merits of being a mixed system and to see only a future of gradual assimilation within the Common Law.(7)

The first argument which I want to offer today, therefore, is that more heed should be given to the words of Lévy Ullmann, Zweigert and Kötz by those following the road to what is sometimes described as the new ius commune of Europe. Indeed I would go further and suggest that it is not only Scots law, but also the world's other mixed legal systems which should receive attention in this regard.(8) The argument is based upon an analysis of the outcome so far of the new ius commune project in which I have been involved myself, namely the Commission on European Contract Law chaired by Professor Ole Lando. The Commission is a private initiative, with a membership drawn from all the legal systems in the European Union. I have been the Scottish representative since 1995, when I succeeded the late Professor W A Wilson. The aim of the Commission is the production of a set of rules - the Principles of European Contract Law - which will represent an ideal system of contract law.(9)

The intellectual origin of the Principles lies in the successful conclusion in 1980 of the Vienna Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG), which includes a number of rules on general contract law reconciling the conflicting traditions of the Common and the Civil Law.(10) But CISG applies only to sale contracts, and one aim of the Lando Commission is to create a system for all contracts in the context of the European Union. A similar objective with regard to the global marketplace has been successfully pursued by Unidroit, the International Institute for the Unification of Law, which published its Principles of International Commercial Contracts in 1994.(11)

Although the very similar Unidroit and Lando Principles may one day be the basis for the contract law of a unified Europe, that is not their immediate goal. They are also designed to be capable of adoption by contracting parties engaging in cross-border transactions but anxious not to tie them to particular systems for purposes of either the applicable law or dispute settlement. The Principles may thus take effect in international commercial arbitrations. They are also expected to influence law reform in the member states and by the European Community itself, and to be a basis for teaching in the law schools.(12)

The work of the Lando Commission is now drawing to a conclusion, and its next to final meeting was in what I hope was the appropriate setting of Edinburgh in January 1999. The time is therefore ripe to examine its results and to consider how far they reflect the position in the Scots law of contract. My approach will be to draw attention to some major rules in the Principles which can be said to approximate to those of the modern Scots law of contract but on which there are significant divisions between the approaches of the Civil Law and the Common Law. I will divide the discussion according to whether the rules are of Civilian or Common Law origin.

A. Rules of Civilian origin

A.1 No consideration - the unilateral promise

The Principles state that a contract is concluded if (a) the parties intend to be legally bound and (b) they reach a sufficient agreement. There is no further requirement. (Art 2:101). Thus the English requirement of consideration (to say nothing of the French cause) plays no part in the Principles, any more than it does in Scots or German law.(13) One consequence in Scots law is the enforceability of the unilateral or gratuitous promise;(14) and likewise the Principles hold that 'a promise which is intended to be legally binding without acceptance is binding'(Art 2:107).

A.2 Irrevocable offers and postal acceptances

The Principles, while stating a general proposition that offers are revocable, allow them to be made irrevocable by an indication to that effect (Art 2:202). The Scots law concept of promise allows a party to make offers irrevocable or 'firm' by an appropriate statement in the offer.(15) In French law offers are revocable but nonetheless an offeree may have a claim in damages if the offeror abuses his right, while in Germany offers are irrevocable unless otherwise stated. Offers are always revocable in English law, however, unless the offeree provides consideration. The problems which this limitation creates are overcome to some extent by the distinctive rule of English law, under which a postal acceptance concludes a contract at the time and place of posting rather than when and where it is communicated to the offeror.(16) This rule has also been received into Scots law, although the Scottish Law Commission has recommended its abolition in a report published in 1993.(17) Given that the Principles start on the basis that offers are revocable, it has to do something to protect offerees where the parties are not dealing face to face; the solution is to provide that offers can no longer be revoked once the offeree has dispatched an acceptance (Art 2:202(1)), but the contract is not concluded until the acceptance reaches the offeror (Art 2:205(1)).

A.3 Contracts for the benefit of third parties

The Principles follow the Continental and Scots legal systems in recognising that contracting parties may create enforceable rights for third parties by appropriate terms in their contract (Art 6:110).(18) English law by contrast starts from the doctrine of privity, under which only the contracting parties can acquire rights under a contract, even if they intend to confer a benefit upon a third party. The Law Commission of England and Wales produced a report on this subject in 1996, recommending the abandonment of privity and the introduction of a system of third party rights.(19) Significantly, one of the reasons for this change given by the Commission was the need for English law to be brought into harmony with the approach elsewhere in Europe.

A.4 Performance as the primary right of a creditor

The Principles provide a range of remedies for breach of contract, or non-performance, as the Lando Commission has preferred to term the matter. First among them is the aggrieved party's entitlement, or right, to specific performance of the other party's obligation (Art 9:102(1)). Here again the model being followed is that of the Continental systems,(20) and under Scots law too the creditor's primary remedy is an order for specific implement.(21) In English law, by contrast, the aggrieved party is not entitled to specific performance, which is an equitable remedy subject to the discretion of the court and which will not be granted in a number of circumstances. Scots law has been influenced by English law in this area, to the extent that the courts exercise an equitable control over the grant of the remedy and have borrowed many of the rules which limit specific performance in England. Moreover, in practice on the Continent specific performance is granted only relatively rarely. This means that the outcome in particular cases is often much the same in England, Scotland and the Continent.

The Principles reflect this, and indeed the development of Scots law, when they qualify the right to specific enforcement with a number of exceptions mainly drawn from the English rules on the subject (Art 9.102(2)). Nevertheless that a difference exists between a system where specific performance is a right rather than a remedy within the discretion of the court is suggested by the contrasting outcomes of recent cases in Scotland and England on so-called 'keep open' clauses in commercial leases. In both countries commercial leases are typically of several years' duration. In the cases, changing commercial circumstances led the tenants to withdraw prematurely from the leases.

In England the House of Lords refused to grant specific performance to the landlords, on the grounds that the order could not be used to compel someone to trade at a loss,(22) whereas the Scottish courts upheld the landlords' claim and ordered the tenants to continue to implement the contract.(23) While there may seem to be economic inefficiency in compelling a party to trade at a loss and against its will, the Scottish approach seems preferable to me in upholding the sanctity of contract and the overall risk allocation in long-term bargains; it also means that the onus of finding a new tenant falls on the existing tenant rather than the landlord, that is to say, the contract-breaker pays the costs of breach up-front, rather than later in a claim for damages.

A.5 The exceptio non adimpleti contractus - retention

Another remedy in the Principles (Art 9:201) which is found in Scots and Continental contract laws is the right to withhold performance until the other party performs - the exceptio non adimpleti contractus (defence of the unperformed contract).(24) The remedy is in the nature of a suspension of performance, and there is no precise equivalent in the English law of remedies,(25) which emphasises termination and damages, although its rules on conditions precedent and subsequent and on order of performance provide some analogues.(26)

B. Rules of Common Law origin

B.1 Unified concept of breach

In general the Principles and Scots law adopt a unified approach to breach or non-performance of contract; that is to say, the remedies apply to any failure to perform in accordance with the contract, whether by total or partial non-performance, delayed or late performance, or defective performance (see generally Chapters 8 and 9). This is essentially the approach of English law and indeed of modern French and Dutch law; however, it contrasts with German law, where remedies for non-performance depend upon whether it results from delay or impossibility. This limitation has given rise to great difficulties in Germany, only partially alleviated by the development in the courts of the further idea of 'positive breach of contract'.(27) Before the nineteenth century Scots law showed some signs of developing a similar idea of non-performance as either delay or impossibility, but this was given up largely under English influence.(28) Impossibility came to be treated quite separately from breach, under the heading of frustration (another concept borrowed from English law). The Principles do not go quite this far: a concept of non-performance excused by an impediment beyond a party's control is deployed instead (Art 8:108), and under this head, the remedies of specific performance and damages are precluded but those of withholding performance and termination (see below) are allowed. Apart from this, however, the Principles do not impose any requirement of fault before remedies for non-performance become available, and again this is akin to the position in Scots and English law. A final point under this heading is that the Principles follow Scots and English law in allowing the cumulation of remedies so long as they are not incompatible with each other (Art 8:102). Again there is a contrast with the German position under which, for example, an aggrieved party must choose between termination and restitution, on the one hand, and damages protecting its expectation or performance interest on the other.(29)

B.2 Repudiation as breach

Breach of contract by repudiation - that is, refusal to perform including anticipatory refusal before performance has fallen due - is an invention of English law which is not parallelled in the Continental systems.(30) A party may consequently be released from its contract by the refusal without having to wait to see whether or not it is fulfilled when performance is due. It is a doctrine of immense value in commercial situations which Scots law received in the later nineteenth century, and it is recognised in several Articles of the Principles (e.g. Arts 8:105, 9:101(2), 9:201(2), 9:304).

B.3 'Self-help' remedies for non-performance

Another distinctive characteristic of the English law of remedies for breach which has only limited parallels on the Continent is the informal and 'self-help' nature of some, such as termination, meaning that it is not necessary in law to go to court or to give the other party special notice to invoke them.(31) This means that the remedies can be exercised speedily and without immediate cost, again features attractive to commerce. Once more Scots law borrowed the English approach here in the nineteenth century, and the Principles follow suit with regard to its remedies of withholding performance and termination of the contract (see Chapter 9, sections 2 and 3).

B.4 Undisclosed principal in agency/representation

Moving away from remedies, a final example of an English doctrine based upon commercial utility rather than strict conceptual purity which has found its way into Scots law and the Principles, but not into Continental systems, is that of the undisclosed principal in cases of agency.(32) The gist of this doctrine is that an agent who has not revealed to his co-contractant that he is an agent may nonetheless bind together in a contract his principal and the other party (Chapter 3 section 3).

These examples suffice to make my basic point, which is the simple one that in a number of important respects the mixed Scots law of contract has anticipated the position arrived at by the Lando Commission in considering what is the best rule of contract law to deal with particular situations. The same might be said of other mixed systems, such as that of South Africa which likewise rejects consideration, gives immediate effect within limits to postal acceptances, allows third party rights, favours specific performance, adheres broadly to a unified concept of breach, and has adopted the doctrines of repudiation, self-help remedies and the undisclosed principal.(33) Of course it is not suggested that all the Lando Commission had to do was codify the Scots law of contract - in fact, its deficiencies and gaps are highlighted by much of the Commission's work - but it might have provided a useful point of departure, perhaps alongside some of the other mixed systems.

Another interesting dimension is that Scots law reached its position largely through the decisions of the courts, i.e. it reflected problems that actually arose in practice. There was no worthwhile systematisation of contract law by a text writer until 1914,(34) by when many of the modern features had been laid down by the judges. Some of the nineteenth-century developments show the flexibility of approach which may not be possible with a code. The law of breach provides a particularly good example: the move to adopt some major characteristics of the English system took place quite suddenly in the middle of the century, and provides a striking contrast to the difficulties of German law, hampered by its ossification in the concepts of the BGB of 1900. There are other examples in areas of contract law which I have not so far mentioned. For instance, it was judicially noted in 1868 that Scots law knew only five grounds for the reduction of a contract - incapacity, force and fear, facility and circumvention, fraud and error.(35) Eleven years later, the same judge presided in the court which borrowed a sixth ground from English law, namely undue influence.(36) Similarly, challenges to contracts based on the originally English doctrine of misrepresentation gained ground in Scotland in the latter part of the nineteenth century, overlapping confusingly with the established rules of error,(37) while fraud was significantly narrowed down by acceptance of the English doctrine laid down by the House of Lords in 1889 in Derry v Peek.(38)

The factors underlying this reception of English law in the nineteenth century, which can be parallelled in areas of the law other than contract, have often been discussed, and were most likely multiple: as already mentioned, they probably included a common language, ready access to sources and texts of English law contrasting with a relative paucity of indigenous material, and the existence of a common appeal court in the House of Lords. In addition, there may well have been a judicial perception that the unified commerce and increasingly unified culture of a great imperial nation required at the least a harmonised or common approach to legal issues.(39) A further possibility which has not yet received the attention it probably deserves is the influence, or even reception, of Civilian concepts and thinking in nineteenth-century English law,(40) which may have made it seem more intelligible to lawyers brought up in another tradition altogether.

Legislation, from Westminster since the 1707 Union and from Brussels since 1973, has also been a factor in the convergence of Scots and English contract laws, although mainly at the level of particular contracts such as sale of goods. In many areas of legislation, in particular those associated with commerce, employment, welfare and taxation, it is increasingly difficult to see any specifically Scottish dimension, and it is possible to talk properly of United Kingdom law, or indeed European Community law. But in the traditional areas of private law, legislation has in recent times often contributed to the continuation of a distinct Scottish dimension. This can be attributed largely to the existence since 1965 of the Scottish Law Commission, which has greatly improved Scottish legislation in private law. The Commission works by detailed research on Scots law and the comparative position, wide consultation and the presentation of generally well argued reports and draft Bills.

In contract law, the Commission has been responsible for the modernisation of the rules on requirements of writing;(41) the undoing of the parole evidence rule, another piece of nineteenth-century borrowing from England;(42) and the de-Anglicisation of the sale of goods legislation to some extent by the removal of ambiguous references to the condition/warranty dichotomy in the rules on implied terms and buyer's remedies.(43) In addition the Commission has proposed adoption of a number of the general contract formation rules in the Vienna Convention,(44) and has been examining the rules on the interpretation of contracts, penalty clauses and breach of contract with the Unidroit and Lando Principles very much in mind.(45)

At least in the domain of contract law, therefore, it is already possible to query the pessimism of Zweigert & Kötz when they write:(46)

It is an open question whether Scots law will be able in the long run to resist the influence of Common Law and whether in the future the area within which it can develop its own solutions may not become more and more restricted. One must realise that Scots law is not reinforced by codification, as the law of Louisiana is, nor by using a separate language, like the law of Quebec; nor is Scotland in the position of South Africa of being its own legislator, for Scotland must often trim its legal sails to the winds blowing from Westminster.

Moreover, there is a further new factor in the Scottish legal scene to qualify the last observation in this quotation - a devolved Parliament which from July 1999 will sit in Edinburgh with power to legislate in the field of Scots private law. Pleasingly, this is defined in terms reflecting the traditional divisions of the law into persons, things and actions, as

the following areas of the civil law of Scotland -

(a) the general principles of private law (including private international law),
(b) the law of persons (including natural persons, legal persons and unincorporated bodies),
(c) the law of obligations (including obligations arising from contract, unilateral promise, delict, unjustified enrichment and negotiorum gestio),
(d) the law of property (including heritable and moveable property, trusts and succession), and
(e) the law of actions (including jurisdiction, remedies, evidence, procedure, diligence, recognition and enforcement of court orders, limitation of actions and arbitration) . . .(47)

What can the Parliament do with this power? The attentive reader will have noted the time-lag which often exists between the making of Scottish Law Commission reform proposals and implementing legislation, and that some reports remain unenacted years after their publication. Moreover, scrutiny at Westminster is often cursory in the extreme. Scottish law reform should therefore be quicker, yet more thoroughly examined, in an Edinburgh Parliament. Some limitations on the available possibilities will have to be recognised, at least for the time being: Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act 1998 excludes from the competence of the Parliament some important areas affecting private law, such as the law of business associations, their insolvency, competition, intellectual property and consumer protection. The possibility of going further than reform and codifying the law was specifically recognised in a provision of the original Scotland Bill which has not survived in the final Act.(48) Nevertheless, there is certainly interest in this, albeit far from universal, in Scotland,(49) and Schedule 4 paragraph 7 of the Scotland Act allows for the possibility of an Act of the Scottish Parliament to 'restate' the law. The Scottish Law Commission already has a statutory duty to consider the codification of the law.(50) Much of its work has tended in this direction, although it is clear that a civil code, or codification of particular parts of the law, is not at present a priority.(51) Nevertheless, the work of the Commission, the completion of the 26-volume Laws of Scotland: Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia, and a massive growth in research and writing on Scots law, mean that much of the basic research on the current position of the law has been done. However, the Members of the Scottish Parliament will be pursuing political agenda rather than those of reformers of private law as such, and a codification project may lack the voter appeal to commend it as a legislative priority.

An alternative possibility is a private initiative along the lines of the Lando Commission, producing what would be in effect a 'restatement' of Scots private law which would test the feasibility of a code, offer a model up for substantive criticism and development, and, in whole or in part, provide material which, if found acceptable, could in due course be enacted by the Scottish Parliament.(52) It might even be best left outside positive law, as a restatement would be more capable of adjustment over time and would avoid the rigidity and inflexibility associated with formal codes.

Another benefit which such a restatement could bring, enacted or not, is to make Scots law more accessible to comparative study. As a system based on a jumble of statute and judicial decision, and in which textbook writing has focused principally on a domestic audience, Scots law has not leant itself to study by outsiders, nor has it been easy for insiders to broadcast its merits beyond the jurisdiction. That a code can change this picture is well demonstrated by the European attention attracted to a draft codification of the Scots law of unjustified enrichment compiled by Dr Eric Clive of the Scottish Law Commission in a private capacity and published by the Commission in 1996.(53) Presenting other areas of Scottish private law in codal form might well prove similarly attractive for comparative study. An example that comes to mind is the law of trusts, which has developed in Scotland despite the absence of the divide between law and equity which is supposed to be the lifeblood of the institution in the system of its origin, England.(54)

If there is ever to be a European Civil Code, whether as positive law or in 'restatement' form, it will have to be equally accessible to the Common and the Civil Law traditions; in other words, it will have to be 'mixed'. The Dutch Civil Code of 1992, which is sometimes put forward as a model for a European code, seems to me too abstract, too close to the German BGB, ever to be acceptable to the Common Lawyer or, indeed, to the Scots lawyer. The possibility that a more acceptable model could be provided by the only existing 'mixed' system in Europe is surely one which deserves to be put to the test.


1. Professor of Private Law, University of Edinburgh. This paper was first presented in lectures at the Universities of Utrecht and Amsterdam on 27 October and 17 November 1997. In revised form it was subsequently presented at the Joint Study Institute of the American Association of Law Librarians, the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians and the Canadian Association of Law Librarians held in the Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge on 6 September 1998. I am grateful to all those who attended these presentations for stimulating comment and questions.

2. J Wain (ed), The Journals of James Boswell 1762-1795 (London, 1991), pp. 82-83. See also his letter to William Temple, ibid, pp. 83-84 ('Utrecht is a most dismal place').

3. For a more detailed survey with literature references see H L MacQueen, 'Mixture or muddle? Teaching and research in Scottish legal history', (1997) 5 Zeitschrift für Europäisches Privatrecht 369-84.

4. H Lévy-Ullmann (trans F P Walton), 'The law of Scotland', (1925) 37 Juridical Review, at p. 390.

5. K Zweigert and H Kötz, Introduction to Comparative Law, trans T Weir, 3rd edn (Oxford, 1998), p. 204. The statement also appeared in the first and second editions.

6. But see H David, Introduction a l'étude du droit écossais (Paris, 1972) and H Weber, Einführung in das schottische Recht (Darmstadt, 1978). Other non-Scots to write extensively about Scots law include Klaus Luig (Cologne) and Peter Birks (Oxford). Recently Reinhard Zimmermann (Regensburg) and a number of South African scholars have begun to take a comparative interest in Scots law.

7. See most recently R Evans-Jones, 'Receptions of law, mixed legal systems and the myth of the genius of Scots private law', (1998) 114 Law Quarterly Review (LQR) 228-249.

8. For a recent collection on mixed legal systems see E Örücü, E Attwooll and S Coyle (eds), Studies in Legal Systems: Mixed and Mixing (The Hague, London and Boston, 1996). Note Örücü's comments at ibid, pp. 350-51: 'Mixed systems can be regarded as points of reconciliation and as models of the symbiosis of legal systems. They may even be depicted as the "ideal systems" of the future. . . . They have not yet become the ideal systems of the future as was hoped, however.'

9. The Principles (henceforth PECL) are only partly published. Part I (Performance, Non-performance and Remedies) appeared in 1995 (O Lando and H Beale (eds.), Principles of European Contract Law (Dordrecht, London, Boston, 1995). This Part has now been revised and another Part, dealing with formation, agency, validity, interpretation, contents and effects, has been added and published under the same editorship in late 1999. A final Part III is now in preparation.

10. For the text of CISG see F D Rose (ed), Blackstone's Statutes on Commercial and Consumer Law 1997-8 (London, 1997), pp. 468-85.

11. UNIDROIT, Principles of International Commercial Contracts (Rome, 1994). See M J Bonell, An International Restatement of Contract Law: the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, 2nd revised ed (Irvington, NY, 1997).

12. See H Beale, 'Towards a law of contract for Europe: the work of the Commission on European Contract Law', in G. Weick (ed), National and European Law on the Threshold to the Single Market (Frankfurt am Main, 1993); idem, 'The "Europeanisation" of contract law', in R Halson (ed.), Exploring the Boundaries of Contract (Dartmouth, 1996), pp. 23-47.

13. For the comparative position see Zweigert and Kötz, pp. 389-99.

14. See most recently W W McBryde, 'Promises in Scots law', (1993) 42 International and Comparative Law Quarterly 48-66.

15. W W McBryde, The Law of Contract in Scotland (Edinburgh, 1987) pp. 65, 68-70; The Laws of Scotland: Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia (Edinburgh, 1987-1996, henceforth SME), vol 15, para 617.

16. For all the foregoing see Zweigert and Kötz, pp. 356-64.

17. Report on Formation of Contract: Scottish Law and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (Scot Law Com No 144, 1993).

18. For third party rights in Scotland see SME, vol 15, paras 824-52; for the Continent Zweigert and Kötz, pp. 456-69.

19. Report on Privity of Contract: Contracts for the Benefit of Third Parties (Law Com No 242, 1996).

20. Zweigert and Kötz, pp. 472-79; G H Treitel, Remedies for Breach of Contract: a comparative account (Oxford, 1988), pp. 43-63 (note also pp. 71-74 on mixed systems).

21. McBryde, pp. 509-14. See also A D Smith, 'Some comparative aspects of specific implement in Scots law', Edinburgh University PhD, 1989.

22. Cooperative Insurance Society Ltd v Argyll Stores (Holdings) Ltd [1998] AC 1.

23. Retail Parks Investments Ltd v The Royal Bank of Scotland Ltd (No 2) 1996 SC 227.

24. The comparative position receives detailed treatment in Treitel, Remedies, pp. 245-317. For the Scots law of retention and mutuality see McBryde, pp. 303-309, and for comment on the latest case (Bank of East Asia v Scottish Enterprise 1997 SLT 1213), see idem, 'Mutuality retained', (1996) 1 Edinburgh Law Review (ELR) 135-39.

25. Treitel, Remedies, pp. 299-317.

26. Ibid, pp. 255-99.

27. For all the foregoing see Zweigert and Kötz, pp. 487-515.

28. See H L MacQueen, 'Remedies for breach of contract: the future development of Scots law in its European and international context', (1997) 1 ELR 200-224, at p. 203.

29. BGB §§ 325, 326.

30. Treitel, Remedies, pp. 379-81.

31. Treitel, Remedies, pp. 323-40.

32. Zweigert and Kötz, pp. 433-44, 436-41. For Scots law see SME, vol 1, paras 616-23, 625-27, 637, 657.

33. For discussion of these points see R Zimmermann and D Visser (eds), Southern Cross: Civil Law and Common Law in South Africa (Cape Town, 1996), pp. 165-80, 303-34, 342-44. Note that offers are generally revocable in South Africa.

34. W M Gloag, The Law of Contract: a Treatise on the Principles of Contract in the Law of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1914). The second edition of 1929 remained the only book-length treatment of the subject until the late 1970s. Before 1914 there were only treatments within more general works on private law.

35. Tennent v Tennent's Trs (1868) 6 M 840 at 876 per Lord President Inglis. Facility and circumvention is really a sub-category of fraud. Compare with the Inglis list the classical Civilian grounds of invalidity: incapacity, violence, fraud and error. Note also PECL, Arts 4.103-4.108.

36. Gray v Binny (1879) 7 R 332.

37. McBryde, pp. 187-203.

38. (1889) 14 App Cas 337; McBryde, pp. 207-209.

39. A recent discussion is A F Rodger, 'Thinking about Scots law', (1996) 1 ELR 1.

40. See e.g. A W B Simpson, 'Innovation in nineteenth-century contract law', (1975) 91 LQR 247-278.

41. Requirements of Writing (Scotland) Act 1995. For the background see Report on Requirements of Writing (Scot Law Com No 112, 1988).

42. Contract (Scotland) Act 1997, s 1. For the background see Report on Three Bad Rules in Contract Law (Scot Law Com No 152, 1996).

43. Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994. For the background see Report on Sale and Supply of Goods (Scot Law Com No 104, 1987).

44. Report on Formation of Contract: Scottish Law and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (Scot Law Com No 144, 1993).

45. Report on Interpretation in Private Law (Scot Law Com No 160, 1997); Discussion Paper No 103 Penalty Clauses (December 1997); Discussion Paper No 104 Remedies for Breach of Contract (April 1999).

46. Zweigert and Kötz, p. 204. The same statement appears in the first and second editions.

47. Scotland Act 1998, s 126(4); see further ss 28-30.

48. Scotland Bill, clause 28(9).

49. See in particular E M Clive, 'A Scottish civil code', in H L MacQueen (ed), Scots Law into the 21st Century (Edinburgh, 1996), pp. 82-91. Contrast however in the same volume A D M Forte, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it: on not codifying commercial law', pp. 92-102.

50. Law Commissions Act 1965, s 3(1).

51. W W McBryde, 'Law reform: the Scottish experience', (1998) 3 Scottish Law and Practice Quarterly, 86-100, at pp. 90-93.

52. Such an initiative is currently planned at the University of Edinburgh, under the guidance of Dr Eric Clive.

53. The draft code appears as an appendix to Scottish Law Commission Discussion Paper No 99, Judicial Abolition of the Error of Law Rule and its Aftermath (February 1996). The text may also be consulted in F D Rose (ed), Blackstone's Statutes on Contract, Tort and Restitution 1997-8 (London, 1997) pp. 444-51, or, in an abbreviated version, in E M Clive, 'Restitution and unjustified enrichment', in A S Hartkamp et al (eds), Towards a European Civil Code, 2nd ed (Dordrecht, London and Boston, 1998), pp. 383-96.

54. The Scots law of trusts gives ownership to the trustee and confers a personal right upon the beneficiary with certain privileges. The concept goes back to the early modern period, and English influence has affected its development less than might be expected. These points are expounded in depth by my colleague, G L Gretton, in 'Scotland: the evolution of the trust in a semi-civilian system', in R H Helmholz and R Zimmermann (eds), Itinera Fiduciae: Trust and Treuhand in Historical Perspective (1998). See also D J Hayton, S C J J Kortmann and H L E Verhagen (eds), Principles of European Trust Law (1999), at 3-4; also the National Report for Scotland by K G C Reid at ibid, 67-84.

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