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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book Contracts for a Third-Party Beneficiary: A Historical and Comparative Account. Most of our present day systems of law are familiar with the idea that third parties can derive rights in contract without themselves having concluded the contract. This book shows the way in which the problem of the third-party beneficiary was dealt with during the various periods of Western legal thought. It reviews the doctrine and practice of the civilian tradition (Roman law, Middle Ages, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, nineteenth century), and deals with English law (before 1900, twentieth century). It discusses the subject from the perspective of present-day comparative law. Throughout the book a consistent terminology is applied and special attention is paid to basic notions of English law which for the continental jurist sometimes take a lot of thought.

Keywords: civilian tradition; contracts; English law; third-party beneficiary; Western legal thought

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