Contractual Interpretation in English and French Law

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Evening Lecture

Presented by Associate Professor Solène Rowan, Australian National University

Contract interpretation is at the core of commercial litigation in England. Yet there has been relatively little comparative analysis on this topic. This is surprising given the practical significance of interpretation and that it has dominated judicial debate over the last 30 years. The lecture analysed in a comparative light some problematic aspects of contractual interpretation in England and France. It explored the notable theoretical and practical differences, as well as contrasting policy choices, in the two systems. Comparison with France was particularly topical because the French Civil Code on contract law has recently been through a major reform.

Solène Rowan is an Associate Professor and Futures Scheme Fellow at the Australian National University. Prior to joining the ANU, Solène was an Associate Professor at the London School of Economics, and a Fellow and College Lecturer in Law at Queens' College, Cambridge. She has held visiting lectureships at the University of Oxford, the University of Paris II (Panthéon-Assas), and Osaka Gakuin University, Japan. She researches in contract, tort, and commercial law and is the author of the award-winning book Remedies for Breach of Contract: a Comparative Analysis of the Protection of Performance (OUP 2012) which has won the SLS Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship (first prize) and the New Author's Inner Temple Book Prize for Outstanding Authorship (runner-up). Her work has recently been cited by the Scottish Law Commission and the Court of Appeal of Singapore.