NOVATION
AND CONTRACT AMENDMENT

P.A. SHEFAS,
LL.M. (Russian School of Private Law),
Сhief Editor of the Journal of the Russian School of Private Law,
Counsel in Law Firm Avelan

DOI: 10.24031/1992-2043-2019-19-2-61-112

This article is about the historical fate of the novation, which was one of the key
institutions of the law of obligations. Modern private law is not only got rid from the
archaic views on obligation as a purely personal relationship of the parties, but it also
has lined up on the principle of freedom of contract. The first point put an end to the
so-called subjective novation, in place of which the assignment of rights and debts comes
into play. The second point means that the parties can change (amend) every element
in obligation at any time by their agreement, as well as terminate the relationship as
a whole. For this reason, the authors of the European unification projects, DCFR and
UNIDROIT Principles included, has refused to incorporate the special regulation of
novation of obligation, keeping in mind that a general reference to the autonomy of the
will is enough. However, neither the Russian nor many European legislators too have
refused to do the same. Aforesaid allows us to explore the question about the differences
between novation of contract and contract amendment by means of evaluating the
conditions of novation for their accessibility to private law regulation (freedom of
contract), as well as the consequences from the expected point of view of the parties.


Keywords: novation; obligation; contract amendment; freedom of contract.

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Information about the author

Shefas P.A. (Moscow) – LL .M. (Russian School of Private Law), Сhief Editor
of the Journal of the Russian School of Private Law, Counsel in Law Firm Avelan
(e-mail: pavshefas@gmail.com).

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