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Case:
Cour de Cassation, First Civil Chamber, (pourvoi no. 04-10.673) Bull.civ. 2005.I, no. 270, p. 225
Date:
21 June 2005
Translated by:
Tony Weir
Copyright:
Professor B. S. Markesinis

Since a contract may be valid although no cause is expressed in it, it is for the debtor to establish that there was no cause or that the cause was illegal.

Given that by notarial act dated 15 April 1991, André Bouchet, then managing partner in the property firm Francki, along with his two other partners, MM. Patrick and Daniel Bouchet, acknowledged that they owed various businesses certain sums for which the partnership had been invoiced but which had remained unpaid; that MM. Patrick and Daniel Bouchet, acting both on their own behalf and as heirs of André Bouchet and his wife, brought suit against M. Granier, one of the creditors to whom they had acknowledged their indebtedness, in order to have the document avoided on the ground that there was no cause for their undertakings;

Given that M. and Mme Bouchet criticise the court of appeal of Chambéry on 13 October 2003 for dismissing their claim on the ground  that, it being agreed that the only party liable to pay the invoices was the Francki firm, the actual employer of the building contractors, the failure by the court to ascertain the cause of the acknowledgement (rather than that of the debt itself) resulted in its decision lacking any legal basis contrary to article 1131 Code civil;

But given that a contract may be valid notwithstanding that no cause is expressed in it and that it is for the debtor to prove that there was no cause or that the cause was unlawful, the decision of the court of appeal was justified in law, since it was entitled, unappealably, to hold for the reasons it gave or adopted that the mere assertion by the Bouchets that there was no cause for the acknowledgement of their indebtedness to M. Granier and others in the document of 15 April 1991 did not prove that cause was actually lacking;

For these reasons dismisses the complaint.

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