Reed Smith Client Alerts

This is our fourth client alert on the new French contract law provisions applicable to French law governed contracts concluded after 1 October 2016.

In our previous client alerts, we outlined this legal revolution in France and described the new recognition of hardship under French contract law as well as the new codified French regime applicable to pre-contractual negotiations.

This client alert focuses on the new provisions of the French civil code that set out to protect the weaker contracting party or parties to any given contractual arrangement. Such protection was one of the express objectives of the reform.


In 2015, the French Parliament listed 13 objectives for the reform of French contract law. The second objective includes the notion of unfair terms and contemplates sanctions against a party who takes advantage of a weaker contractual counterparty. To meet this objective, the legislator introduced three notions which we address in turn below.