Rules of Interpretation of Contracts in the Drafts of the law of Obligations and the Code of Obligations. Remarks on the Scope of the Current Discussion in Private Law

The paper aims to present retrospectively the proposals on interpretation of contracts prepared during work of the Codification Commission of the Republic of Poland that preceded the enactment of the code of obligations of 1933. It is thereby an opportunity not only to illustrate in outline the process of defining the conclusive version of the code rules on contractual interpretation but also to point out the most significant issues determining the selection of appropriate legislative solutions in the field of interpretation. Due to the quality of the Polish code of obligations, commonly regarded as a remarkable legislative achievement, such retrospective scrutiny can constitute an important point of reference, especially in view of the contemporary attempts to create an adequate structure of interpretative rules within the ongoing recodification process undertaken by the Civil Law Codification Commission at the Ministry of Justice that has brought forward a draft of volume I of the new civil code (2008). It has already undergone a thorough revision and currently is set to be published in a modified version. The development seems particularly important in view of the fact that the general model of interpretation introduced in the code of obligations was – in principle, to some extent – adopted in the civil code now in force. Additionally, the questions examined in the article can be conceptualised in a broader context of the current debate focused on the issues of decodification and europeanisation of private law.

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