Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students will be expected to have an in-depth knowledge of the law of contract under Italian Civil Law, in particular real estate law. This implies a fundamental grasp of the various types of contracts that may be stipulated under the Italian legal system, the rights pertaining to real estate and property in general, as well as the newer contractual forms issuing from today's globalised market and the attendant legal instruments: new forms of sales agreement (e.g. assignment of volume (cessioni di cubatura), multiple-ownership, and contracts with building contractors); contracts regulating to the conducting of business activities (mandate, brokerage, agency contracts); contracts for the provision of works and services (tenders, engineering contracts) as well as contracts governing company financing operations (loans, factoring, leasing and lease-back). Students should be able to provide legal and tax advice in these areas also on a comparative law basis in view of their grounding in Unidroit principles and European Contract Law.

Course contents

1. Contracts regulating the market system: the market structure and business networks: legally recognised networks like franchising, and economic networks based on de facto relations and sub-contracts; European Contract Law: the “Europeanisation” of contract law and 2004 UNIDROIT principles;

2. The form and content of legal instruments, from disclosure to the electronic transmission and performance of legal instruments. The electronic document, the electronic or digital signature;

3. Voluntary jurisdiction opted for by companies: the attendant notarial deeds;

4. Laws of succession as applied to companies and family covenants;

5. Real estate contracts: the phases and steps of purchase, seller obligations and guarantees, tax issues and tax incentives. New instruments like contracts with building contractors and multiple-owner sales contracts, the assignment of volume without the sale of land, transfer of cultural artefacts. The legal regime governing parking spaces. Amnesty for infringement of building regulations;

6. Contracts governing the circulation of goods: contracts pursuant to the Italian Civil Code and new contractual arrangements governing television and internet selling; contracts regulating the conducting of business activities, such as mandates, brokerage and agency contracts; contracts financing and extending credit to companies, from loans to new contractual forms such as factoring, leasing and lease-back and their relative guarantees; fiduciary contracts, from the duty of good faith and fiduciary property to new forms like the so-called ‘internal trust';

7. Transfer of mortgages and the “transferability of loans”;

8. Construction companies: different legal enterprises (impresa and società), building cooperatives, and merged companies and their contractual obligations in light of recent reforms and market globalisation.


Students are advised to consult the following manual:

• F. Galgano, Diritto Privato, Cedam, Padua, latest edition (ONLY CONTRACT)

Further Reading

In addition to the above, students are encouraged to read more widely to obtain a broader perspective on the subject. As well as the lecture summaries that may also be made available, the following titles provide fundamental background reading:

  • P. Zanelli, Guida notarile, Utet, Torino, 2010.

Assessment methods

The end-of-course examination will consist of a compulsory oral examination.

Students with a regular attendance record may be granted the opportunity to sit exams during the term or before the official examination session or writing papers depth study of specific topics under examination.

Office hours

See the website of Pietro Zanelli