Laws of Delict and Restitution

Finally, the cause is the why of the contract or the essential reason which moves the contracting parties to enter into the contract. It is the immediate, direct or more proximate reason which explains and justifies the creation of an obligation thorough the will of the contracting parties. In this jurisdiction, cause and consideration are used interchangeably. However, cause of causa is a broader concept in civil law than the consideration in common law jurisdictions. Cause must not be confused with the object of a contract.

The cause for each contracting party is the prestation or the promise of a thing or service by the other, while the object of the contract is the thing or service itself. The legality or illegality of the motives behind the cause will not affect the existence of a contract. However, the motive may be regarded as the cause when the contract is conditioned upon the attainment of the motive of either of the contracting party. In other words, motive becomes cause when it predetermined the purpose of the contract.

Louisiana follows the Philippine view of a contract, and defines it as an agreement by two or more parties whereby obligations are created, modified, or extinguished. Absence of or lack of legal capacity will void a contract. There are two basic notions about wrongs: first, a wrong-doer must pay because he has done wrong, and an innocent person damaged must be made whole (reparation). In Scotland, there must be fault or breach before one may be made liable for harm. As a result, one must be able to point toward a specific legal obligation or right that has been infringed before one may sue for delicts.

This strict view in general has led Scots law to make void provisions in a contract that require a buyer contracting for the sale of property to have the contract voided or nullified before he may take action against the seller. This has led some writers to opine that “the law of delict, and especially the law of negligence, often have the feeling of the common law, although a common law which has itself been influenced by civil law ideas. ” The leading case in this field is Donoghue v. Stevenson, a decision of the House of Lords, which holds that those who may be affected by the actions of an individual has standing to sue in tort.

Scots enrichment law, on the other hand, focuses on returning parties to their pre-exchange position. As a broader concept, it covers the legal principles of payment by mistake, quasi-contract, and quantum meruit. This derives from the common law principle that injury is the sole cause of action. Wrongful acts are not actionable as long as there was no damage done. In many cases, a verdict can only give nominal damages, which is equivalent to losing the suit. If a penal element is recognized, it comes none too often.

Philippines law, as in all Civil Law countries that trace its Penal Codes to Spain, makes a distinction between delicts (delitos) and quasi-delicts (quasi-delitos). Delicts, strictly speaking are covered under criminal law in the Philippines and refer to wrongs arising out of criminal felonies. Quasi-delicts, on the other hand, refer to harm arising from negligence and are a more proper analogue to the concept of delicts in Scots law. The difficulty of torts in Philippines law is brought about by the overlapping fields of liability.

In US law, the tort spectrum is so large that it operates as a catch-all for liabilities that may otherwise be unclassified. Because Philippines law requires that there be positive identification of a legal obligation in a general law, the scope of quasi-delicts is necessarily limited. Under Philippines law, “whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict. ”

As regards quasi-contracts, a whole section in the Philippine New Civil Code is dedicated to the topic in Philippines law, which recognizes the same as a separate source of legal obligations. As a general rule, two general kinds of quasi-contracts are recognized: solutio indebiti, where a person unduly delivers a thing through mistake to another who has no right to demand the same; and negotiorum gestio, where a person voluntarily takes charge of the agency or management of the business or property of another without any power or authority from the latter.

Negotiorum Gestio is defined in Philippines law as a quasi-contract that should not be performed for profit. If the property is abandoned or neglected and if the manager is not authorized by the owner, a quasi–contract arises. Any person who voluntarily takes charge of the agency or management of the business or property of another shall continue the same until the termination of the affair and its incidents (the owner demands he stops); or if he requires the owner to substitute if he is a position to do so.

If the property is not abandoned, all acts and contracts entered into by the officious manager shall be unenforceable. Solutio indebiti, on the other hand, refers to an instance where something is received when there is no right to demand it, and it was unduly delivered through mistake, generally involves a mistake in fact. However, a mistake of law is allowed if the mistake is brought about by the construction or application of a doubtful or difficult question of law.


1. Herman, S. 2004, Book Review: A History Of Private Law In Scotland. by Kenneth Reid & Reinhard Zimmermann. Oxford University Press 2000. Volume I (552 pages), Volume II (748 pages), Tulane Law Review, vol. 78 pp. 1755 2. Evans-Jones, R. 1998, Receptions of Law, Mixed Legal Systems and the Myth of the Genius of Scots Private Law, Law Quarterly Review, pp. 228-249 3. Robinson, O. F. , Fergus, T. D, and Gordon W. M. , 1985 Introduction to European Legal History, pp. 377 4. Osborne, B. D. and Armstrong R. 1996, Scotch Obsessions, p. 100