Consideration is one of the essential elements of the contract in common law. It can be defined as the reason by which a person is moved to be bound by an agreement, an act or forbearance, or the promise thereof, done or given by one party in return for the act or promise in return for the act or promise of another.
Addressing the whole theory of consideration falls outside the scope of this small section. In general, the term is hardly translatable in languages of civil law countries. Some closely related words can be used where the context so allows, as in the examples below.
In translations into French, when translating “consideration”, the term “cause” (and into Italian the term “causa”) should be avoided. Firstly, the concept of “cause” or “causa” differs from that of consideration from several points of view. Furthermore, with regard to French law, the term “cause” has recently been deleted from the French Civil Code by the civil obligations reform of 10 February 2016 and has been replaced by the word “but”. However, as well-established case-law clarifying the exact meaning of this term is still inexistent, using it to translate “consideration” may be risky.
The term “contrepartie” seems to be more appropriate, and the French reform introduced this concept precisely to make French contract law closer to common law’s approach to contract.
In Italian, where the context so allows, the term “consideration” can be roughly translated as “corrispettivo” or “contropartita”.