Jorge Castiñeira Jerez, ‘The Unexpected Change of Circumstances Under American and Spanish Contract Law: Different Concepts, Different Methodology, Similar Outcomes’

Abstract
Several recent decisions by el Tribunal Supremo (Spanish Supreme Court) have expressed the need to reconsider the contractual problems that may arise following an unexpected change of circumstances. However, these court decisions have not helped achieve normalization since they apply foreign legislative concepts and disregard the basic principles of Spanish contract law.

With the help of a comparative analysis, the aim of this article is to contribute to finding answers to a classical problem of Spanish contract law that needs an urgent solution in the context of the economic crisis. American law has been chosen to carry out this comparison because this legal system has not been studied in depth by Spanish authors when dealing with this issue and additionally because the practical approach of this law would be of value to a more formalistic system such as the Spanish or others legal systems of Continental Europe as the French, where this problem has not been provided with an specific solution.

It will also be shown that, despite the significant differences existing between US and Spanish law, the understanding of the problem and the solutions needed are not so different in both systems. This last conclusion is the best evidence of the fact that the value and usefulness of comparative law resides in the way of understanding legal problems and providing themwith solutions and not necessarily in making legal systems technically similar. The study and understanding of US law may contribute to finding a solution to the problem in Spain and also, more importantly, to show how the alleged differences existing between civil and common law systems are often more formal than substantial. It will also be shown the different approach adopted by US and Spanish contract law when facing crises situations.

Jorge Castiñeira Jerez, ‘The Unexpected Change of Circumstances Under American and Spanish Contract Law: Different Concepts, Different Methodology, Similar Outcomes’ (2017) 25 European Review of Private Law, issue 5, pp 909–940.

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