After Brexit pp 147-163 | Cite as

Brexit as an Exceptional Change of Circumstance?

  • A. B. Menezes Cordeiro


Few issues in the law of obligations have yielded solutions so disparate as those offered for exceptional changes of circumstances after the formation of contracts. These differences are especially noticeable between civil law systems, despite their common origins and the mutual influences.

Although the solutions differ, the doctrine of change of circumstances is recognised today, with some variations, in most European legal systems: in Germany, in § 313 of the BGB; in the United Kingdom, the common law courts have developed the doctrine of frustration; in Italy, in Article 1467 of the Codice Civile; and in Portugal, in Article 437.° of the Código Civil. In a recent development, French law, traditionally averse to the construction, also established the doctrine in the great reform of 2016, in Article 1195 of the Code Civil.

In this chapter, we shall examine the possibility of considering Brexit as an exceptional change of circumstances, in the light of the following European legal systems: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Portugal, and the consequences such a classification could have for the conservation or amendment of contracts currently in force.


Frustration Brexit Termination Modification rebus sic stantibus 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. B. Menezes Cordeiro
    • 1
  1. 1.Lisbon University School of LawLisbonPortugal

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