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Cour de Cassation — Contract Law — Formation: Consent

Date Citation Note
03.04.2002 D. 2002, 1860 Case Société Larousse Bordas v. Mme Kannas

Subsequent developments
A contract entered into out of economic necessity may only be held void for duress where the stronger party unduly took advantage of this necessity and the weaker party’s interests were at risk of an imminent threat.
21.02.2001 Bull. civ. III, no. 288 Case M. Plessis v. Société civile immobiliere Errera (SCI)

Subsequent developments
A contract may be held void for error where one party’s otherwise unforgivable mistake is the result of the other party’s misleading omissions.
13.02.2001 Bull. civ. I, no. 31 Case M. Lucas v. SAGEP

Subsequent developments
A contract of sales may not be held void for error where it was entered into by the buyer under the mistaken belief that he would gain tax benefits through the acquisition.
Unless a contractual clause expressly provides otherwise, a contract may notbe held void for error where the error relates to a purpose outside the scopeof the contract.
15.11.2000 Bull. civ. III, no. 171 Case Société Carrières de part Brandefert v. Palaric-Le Coent A contract may be held void for misleading omissions on the buyers’ where the buyers deliberately concealed to the seller the rich potential of the land as well as the exploitation plan they intended to carry out on theland.
30.05.2000 Bull. civ. I, no. 169 Case M. Deparis v. Assurances mutuelles de France Groupe Azur

Subsequent developments
Although a disproportionately small value of consideration is not a ground for nullity, a contract may be held void where it was entered into out of economic necessity. Economic necessity constitutes a form of duress.
03.05.2000 Bull. civ. I, no. 131 Case M. Celin v. Mme Boucher , known as the Baldus case

Subsequent developments
A contract may not be held void for misleading omissions on the buyer’s part where the buyer merely avoided informing the seller of the exact worth of the purchased photographs.
13.01.1998 Bull. civ. I, no. 17

Subsequent developments
 
03.07.1996 Bull. civ. I, no. 287 Case Commune de Venthon

Subsequent developments
A contract may be held void for error, even though the error originated from the wilful misrepresentations of a third party, where the error relates to an essential quality of the contract.
16.04.1991 Bull. civ. I, no. 145 Case Mme Gans v. M. Daber

Subsequent developments
Where a controversy as to the exact attribution of a painting arises after the sale, an action for error may be allowed but damages against the vendor may not be awarded.
24.03.1987 Bull. civ. I, no. 105 D. 1987, 489 Case M. Vincent & autres v. M. Spoturno-Coty & autres , knownas the Fragonard case

Subsequent developments
Error as to the exact attribution of a work of art cannot be invoked by either party where it was agreed at the time of the sale that the painting’s origins were uncertain.
07.01.1987 D. 1987, 485 Case Epoux Saint Arroman v. Réunion des Musées nationaux & autres , known as the Poussin case

Subsequent developments
Attribution of a painting to a particular artist constitutes an essential quality of the work sold, both for buyers and vendors.
The fact that the painting was described by an officialexpert as belonging to "l’Ecole des Carrache" is sufficientto justify the vendors’ mistaken conviction that the painting could notbe attributed to Poussin.
The tradition in the vendors’ family, attributing the painting to Poussin,must be disregarded as the only state of mind to be taken into account is thatexisting at the time of the sale.
13.12.1983 D. 1984, 340 Case Epoux Saint Arroman v. Réunion des Musées nationaux & autres , known as the Poussin case

Subsequent developments
Proof of the error existing at the time the sale contract was entered into may be established thanks to elements posterior to the sale.
22.02.1978 D.1978.601 Case Epoux Saint Arroman v. Réunion des Musées Nationaux & autres , known as the Poussin case

Subsequent developments
A contract may be held void for error where the vendors sold a painting under the mistaken conviction that it could not be one of Poussin’s works.