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John Cartwright

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Professor of the Law of Contract

John Cartwright has been Official Student (Fellow and Tutor) in Law at Christ Church since 1982, and Professor of the Law of Contract in the University since 2008. (He was Lecturer in Law from 1982 until 2004, then Reader in the Law of Contract from 2004 to 2008.) He is also a Solicitor. In 2007 he was appointed as Professor of Anglo-American Private Law at the University of Leiden and for a number of years he has been professeur invité at the University of Paris II (Panthéon-Assas). His research interests are in the fields of English and comparative private law, especially contract and land law. He teaches the undergraduate courses on Contract, Comparative Law (English/French Law of Contract), Land Law, Tort and Roman Law, and the BCL/MJur course on European Private Law (Contract).


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Journal Articles


J Cartwright, 'La preuve en droit continental et en common law - Le point sur la preuve en matière des contrats en droit anglais.' (2013) La Semaine Juridique Notariale et Immobilière 26 [...]

Abstract: There is no "hierarchy of proof" in English law as there is in French law. English law does not use authentic acts; the deed is a private document. Although there are only a few exceptions to the basic rule that no formalities of writing are required for the creation of a contract, nor for its enforceability, yet where the contract is in writing the written document has great significance, particularly in the light of the principles of (objective) interpretation of the contract.

Discussion of the significance of writing in English law of contract. Article is in French.

ISBN: 0242-5785


J Cartwright, '\\\\\\\'Choice is Good.\\\\\\\' Really?' (2011) 7 European Review of Contract Law 335 [...]

Discussion of the option 4 (the 'Optional Instrument') in the Commission's Green Paper on policy options for progress towards a European Contract Law for consumers and businesses (2010). [Paper first presented at SECOLA conference, Leuven, January 2011.]

ISBN: 1614-9920


J Cartwright, 'The English Law of Contract: Time for Review?' (2009) 17 European Review of Private Law 155 [...]

Discussion of aspects of the English law of contract which are in need of reform, and the mechanisms by which reform can be achieved. Revised text of Inaugural Lecture delivered on 7 October 2008 in acceptance of the Chair of Anglo-American Private Law at the University of Leiden.

ISBN: 0928-9801



J Cartwright, Formation and Variation of Contracts (Sweet & Maxwell 2014) [...]

Book discussing in detail the law on pre-contractual negotiations and the formation of the agreement, contractual formalities, and the doctrines of consideration and promissory estoppel as they apply in both the formation of a contract and the variation of an existing contract.

ISBN: 9781847038029


J Cartwright, Contract Law: An Introduction to the English Law of Contract for the Civil Lawyer, 2nd edn (Hart Publishing 2013) [...]

Second edition of book designed to introduce English contract law to lawyers with a civil law background.

ISBN: 9781849464796


J Cartwright, Misrepresentation, Mistake and Non-Disclosure, 3rd edn (Sweet & Maxwell 2012) [...]

Third edition of work originally published in 2002 (second edition 2007).

ISBN: 9780414049550


J Cartwright and EH Burn, Cheshire and Burn's Modern Law of Real Property, 18th edition (Oxford University Press 2011) [...]

New edition of established text on Land Law

ISBN: 978-0-19-959340-8


J Cartwright, J Beatson and A Burrows, Anson's Law of Contract (29th edn, OUP 2010) [...]

New edition of classic text on contract law

ISBN: 9780199282470


J Cartwright and E H Burn, Maudsley & Burn\'s Land Law Cases & Materials, 9th edition (OUP 2009) [...]

Case book on Land Law

ISBN: 9780199226177


J Cartwright and M Hesselink, Precontractual Liability in European Private Law (Cambridge University Press 2008) [...]

A volume within the Common Core of European Private Law: a comparative study of the legal nature of the precontractual phase and the liability which may follow a break-off of precontractual negotiations. The study comprises specialist reports from 16 national legal systems, and other perspectives, with Editors' introduction and conclusions.

ISBN: 9780521516013


J Cartwright, Contract Law: An Introduction to the English Law of Contract for the Civil Lawyer (Hart Publishing 2007) [...]

Book designed to introduce the lawyer who is trained in a civil law jurisdiction to the common law, and to the English law of contract.

ISBN: 978 1 84113 577 9

J Cartwright, Misrepresentation, Mistake and Non-Disclosure (Sweet & Maxwell 2007) [...]

Second edition, updated and expanded to cover mistake as well as misrepresentation and non-disclosure

ISBN: 0 421 87720 0


J Cartwright and EH Burn, Cheshire and Burn\'s Modern Law of Real Property, 17th edition (OUP 2006) [...]

Revised and re-structured edition of established text on Land Law.

ISBN: 0199285330


J Cartwright, Misrepresentation (Sweet and Maxwell 2002) [...]

Book within the Sweet and Maxwell Contract Law Library (covering claims in contract, tort and under statute for misrepresentation and non-disclosure).

ISBN: 0 421 626 704



J Cartwright, 'Equity's Connivance in the Evasion of Formalities' in E. Koops and W.J. Zwalve (eds), Law & Equity: Approaches in Roman Law and Common Law ( 2014) [...]

Examination of the consequences of the failure to comply with formality requirements in property transactions in English law, and comparisons with Roman law.

ISBN: 978900426219-5


J Cartwright, ''Authenticity' and 'Authentic Instruments': The Perspective of English Law' in L. Aynès (ed), L'authenticité (La documentation Française 2013) [...]

Comparative discussion of English law and French law provisions regarding formalities for private law transactions (contract and property) with focus on the absence from English law of notarised and other 'authentic' instruments. Part of published proceedings of Commission on Authenticité established by the Conseil supérieur du notariat, France under the direction of Professor Laurent Aynès.

ISBN: 9782110095879

J Cartwright and M Schmidt-Kessel, 'Defects in Consent: Mistake, Fraud, Threats, Unfair Exploitation' in Gerhard Dannemann and Stefan Vogenauer (eds), The Common European Sales Law in Context (Oxford University Press 2013) [...]

Comparison of English law on defects in consent in the formation of a contract with German law and European private law (the proposed Common European Sales Law and the Draft Common Frame of Reference).

ISBN: 9780199678907


J Cartwright, 'Defects of Consent in Contract Law' in AS Hartkamp, MW Hesselink, EH Hondius, C Mak, CE du Perron (eds), Towards a European Civil Code, 4th edn (Kluwer Law International 2011) [...]

Comparative discussion of defects of consent (mistake, misrepresentation, fraud, duress, etc) in English, French and German contract law and under the Draft Common Frame of Reference.

ISBN: 978-90-411-3357-1

J Cartwright, 'La réception linguistique de l’avant-projet de réforme: traduire l’avant-projet en anglais' in Pierre Catala (ed), L’art de traduction: L’accueil international de l’avant-projet de réforme du droit des obligations (Editions Panthéon-Assas 2011) [...]

Discussion of difficulties of translation of the l’avant-projet de réforme du droit des obligations into English; publication of paper originally given at colloquium at the Senate, Paris, on 1 April 2008.

ISBN: 978-2-913397-99-6


J Cartwright, 'Liability in Tort for Pre-Contractual Non-Disclosure' in A Burrows and E Peel (eds), Contract Formation and Parties (OUP 2010) [...]

Discussion and criticism of recent cases holdinbg that a fraudulent breach of a duty of disclosure is actionable within the tort of deceit.

ISBN: 9780199583706


J Cartwright, 'Interpretation of English Law in Light of the Common Frame of Reference' in H. Snijders and S. Vogenauer (eds), Content and Meaning of National Law in the Context of Transnational Law (Sellier 2009) [...]

Discussion of how English courts may be faced with interpreting the Cmmon Frame of Reference, with particular reference to duties of good faith in negotiation and performance of contacts.

ISBN: 9783866531277

J Cartwright, 'The Fiction of the 'Reasonable Man'' in AG Castermans, J Hijma, KJO Jansen, P Memelink, HJ Snijders, CJJM Stolker (eds), Ex Libris Hans Nieuwenhuis (Kluwer 2009) [...]

The 'reasonable man' appears in tort, contract and criminal law, but personifies different standards in each. So the 'reasonable man' is a fiction.

ISBN: 9789013069228


J Cartwright, 'Analyse comparée de la responsabilité précontractuelle dans les droits européens' in O. Deshayes (ed), L’avant-contrat: Actualité du processus de formation des contrats (PUF, collection CEPRISCA 2008) [...]

Comparison of the approaches of different European legal systems to liability between parties during the negotiations for a contract. Published paper from conference on ‘L’avant-contrat’, Le Centre de droit privé et de sciences criminelles d’Amiens, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, 4 April 2007.

ISBN: 978-2-95187-128-1

J Cartwright, 'L’obligation de négocier? Un domaine de concurrence entre droit anglais et droit français des contrats.' in J. du Bois de Gaudusson and F. Ferrand (eds), La Concurrence des Systèmes Juridiques (Presses Universitaires d’Aix-Marseille 2008) [...]

Comparison of the different approaches of French and English law to the acceptance (or not) of an obligation to negotiate during the precontractual phase. Published paper from conference on ‘La concurrence des systèmes juridiques’, Institut de droit comparé Edouard Lambert, Lyon, 20 October 2006

ISBN: 9782731406245


J Cartwright, 'Excluding Liability for Misrepresentation' in A Burrows and E Peel (eds), Contract Terms (Oxford University Press 2007) [...]

Published version of paper from Oxford-Norton Rose Colloquium 2006.

ISBN: 978 0 19 922937 6

J Cartwright, 'Protecting Legitimate Expectations and Estoppel: English Law' in B Fauvarque-Cosson (ed), La Confiance Légitime et l'Estoppel (Société de Législation Comparée 2007) [...]

Discussion of the role of estoppel and the protection of legitimate (or reasonable) expectations in English contract law. Contribution to the 17th Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law, Utrecht, July 2006. Also published (separately) on-line in the Electronic Journal of Comparative Law at

ISBN: 978 2 908199 53 6


J Cartwright, 'Case study (English law)' in R. Sefton-Green (ed), Mistake, Fraud and Duties to Inform in European Contract Law: Common Core of European Contract Law (CUP 2005) [...]

English law contribution to a comparative study on mistake, fraud and duties to inform.

ISBN: 0 521 84423 1

J Cartwright, 'The Rise and Fall of Mistake in the English Law of Contract' in R. Sefton-Green (ed), Mistake, Fraud and Duties to Inform in European Contract Law: Common Core of European Contract Law (CUP 2005) [...]

An article tracing the development of the doctrine of mistake in contract, from the mid-19th Century to the start of the 21st Century

ISBN: 0 521 84423 1


J Cartwright, 'Compensatory Damages: Some Central Issues of Assessment' in A Burrows and E Peel (eds), Commercial Remedies: Current Issues and Problems (OUP 2003) [...]

Assessment of the recent approaches of the courts (and in particular the House of Lords) to the assessment of damages for breach of contract. Publishing contributions to colloquium.

ISBN: 0 19 926465 1

J Cartwright, 'Formality and Informality in Property and Contract' in J Getzler (ed), Rationalizing Property, Equity and Trusts: Essays in Honour of Edward Burn (Lexis Nexis 2003)


J Cartwright, 'Defects of Consent and Security of Contract: French and English Law Compared' in P Birks and A Pretto (eds), Themes in Comparative Law in Honour of Bernard Rudden (OUP 2002)

Edited books


J Cartwright, S Vogenauer and S Whittaker (eds), Reforming the French Law of Obligations (Hart Publishing 2009) [...]

Edited volume of comparative reflections on the Avant-projet de réforme du droit des obligations et de la prescription, based on papers from colloquium held in March 2007. Articles by J. Cartwright at pp. 51-70 (‘Negotiation and Renegotiation: An English Perspective’), pp. 359-380 (‘Reforming the French Law of Prescription: An English Perspective’); and pp. 409-411 (Summary of discussions); jointly with S. Whittaker at pp. 425-444 (‘Translating the Avant-projet de réforme’) and translation of the Avant-projet into English (pp. 479-915, odd numbered pages). Whole volume edited by J. Cartwright, S. Vogenauer and S. Whittaker

ISBN: 9781841138053

Internet Publications


J Cartwright and S Whittaker, 'Proposals for Reform of the Law of Obligations and the Law of Prescription; English translation of Avant-projet de réforme du droit des obligations et de la prescription (2005)' (2007) [...]

Official translation into English of the Avant-projet de réforme du droit des obligations et de la prescription. Revised translation (2008) is published in J. Cartwright, S. Vogenauer and S. Whittaker: Reforming the French Law of Obligations (Hart Publishing, 2009)

Case Notes


J Cartwright, 'Unilateral Mistake in the English Courts: Reasserting the Traditional Approach' (2009) Singapore Journal of Legal Studies 226 [...]

Case note on Statoil ASA v Louis Dreyfus Energy Services LP


J Cartwright, 'Cour de Cass, Ass Plén, 6 décembre 2004: English case note' (2006) 14 European Review of Private Law 789 [...]

Comparative (English/French law)case note on recent leading decision in French law on the transfer of the benefit of a rent guarantee.

ISBN: 0928-9801


J Cartwright, 'Cour de Cass, 26.11.2003 - 'Perte de Chance': English case note' (2005) 13 European Review of Private Law 455 [...]

Comparative case note on a decision of the Cour de cassation

ISBN: 0928-9801


J Cartwright, 'Common Mistake in Common Law and in Equity' (2002) 118 Law Quarterly Review 196 [...]

Case note on Great Peace Shipping Ltd v Tsavliris Salvage (International) Ltd (Toulson J).

ISBN: 0023-933X

Research Projects

European Contract Law


Teaching: Comparative Private Law; Contract; Land Law; Roman Law; Tort

Research: Contract, Tort, Property Law, Comparative Law

Other details

Correspondence address:

Christ Church
Oxford OX1 1DP

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