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Avtalsparters lojalitetsplikt vid utförandeentreprenad enligt bestämmelserna i AB 04

Waldebrink, Johan LU (2018) JURM02 20182
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Från att den svenska synen på avtalsförhållanden tidigare betonat parternas avtalsfrihet och starkt präglats av en restriktivitet mot att fylla ut avtal med förpliktelser som inte uttryckligen följer av dessa, har utvecklingen på avtalsrättens område gått emot en syn som snarare ser avtalsförhållandet som ett samarbetsförhållande än ett motpartsförhållande. Svenska avtalsparter har i takt med den utvecklingen ansetts ha en skyldighet att iaktta och tillvarata sin motparts intresse, en så kallad allmän lojalitetsplikt. En sådan allmän avtalsrättslig lojalitetsplikt har vunnit acceptans i svensk rättsvetenskaplig litteratur och uppfattningen har varit att avtalsparter med stöd av plikten ansetts kunna åläggas förpliktelser som inte... (More)
Från att den svenska synen på avtalsförhållanden tidigare betonat parternas avtalsfrihet och starkt präglats av en restriktivitet mot att fylla ut avtal med förpliktelser som inte uttryckligen följer av dessa, har utvecklingen på avtalsrättens område gått emot en syn som snarare ser avtalsförhållandet som ett samarbetsförhållande än ett motpartsförhållande. Svenska avtalsparter har i takt med den utvecklingen ansetts ha en skyldighet att iaktta och tillvarata sin motparts intresse, en så kallad allmän lojalitetsplikt. En sådan allmän avtalsrättslig lojalitetsplikt har vunnit acceptans i svensk rättsvetenskaplig litteratur och uppfattningen har varit att avtalsparter med stöd av plikten ansetts kunna åläggas förpliktelser som inte uttryckligen följer av parternas avtal. Pliktens ställning har dock varit osäker då den inte kommit till uttryck i lagtext och inte heller hänvisats till av Högsta domstolen. Under år 2017 och 2018 avgjorde dock HD ett antal mål där domstolen uttryckligen hänvisade till en lojalitetsplikt avtalsparter emellan. Denna uppsats syftar till att avgöra vilken påverkan dessa avgöranden haft på utvecklingen av lojalitetsplikten i svensk rätt och då särskilt på entreprenadrättens område. Uppsatsen avser att svara på vilka förpliktelser som med stöd av en eventuell lojalitetsplikt uppkommer för entreprenadavtalsparter. För att lyckas med detta har jag valt att genomföra en traditionell rättsvetenskaplig undersökning av auktoritativa rättskällor.

Med entreprenadavtal avses avtal om uppförande av byggnad eller annan fast anläggning på mark eller i vatten. Entreprenadavtal mellan kommersiella parter är inte lagreglerade vilket har kommit att innebära att ett antal standardavtal benämnda Allmänna bestämmelser fått stort inflytande på området. Allra störst inflytande har AB 04 som reglerar förhållandet mellan beställare och entreprenör vid så kallade utförandeentreprenader, det vill säga när beställaren utför projekteringen och entreprenören utförandet. Av förordet till AB 04 samt kommentaren till avtalets kap. 4 § 3 framgår att en allmän lojalitetsplikt gäller mellan parterna. Förordet tar sikte på entreprenadavtalsparters skyldighet att samarbeta och underrätta varandra under avtalstiden medan kommentaren behandlar den rationella användning av resurser som en entreprenör förutsätts tillämpa för att begränsa påverkan av ett hinder. Med stöd av resonemang kring lojalitet skulle emellertid fler förpliktelser, utöver de som uttryckligen följer av bestämmelserna i AB 04, kunna åläggas entreprenadavtalsparter.

Vad HD stadgat genom sina senare avgöranden är att avtal förutsätter lojal samverkan mellan parter, särskilt vad gäller långvariga avtalsrelationer. Skyldigheten till samverkan innefattar en allmän underrättelseskyldighet. En part är skyldig att underrätta sin motpart om sina planer att göra avtalsbrottspåföljder gällande, då parten vet att motparten inrättar sig på ett visst sätt i förlitan på en rättslig bedömning som är felaktig, då parten givit motparten intrycket att parten eftergivit sin rätt eller när parten under mycket lång tid underlåtit att göra sin rätt gällande. Om parten inte gör så följer det av allmänna förmögenhetsrättsliga principer att parten kan förlora rättigheter enligt avtalet på grund av sin passivitet. Exakt vilken tillämpning förpliktelserna får avgörs i det enskilda fallet beroende på bland annat avtalstyp och avtalsförhållande.

Min slutsats är att en allmän lojalitetsplikt inte existerar i sin självständighet eftersom att det inte går att vinna framgång med en talan baserad endast på den grund att motparten brutit mot en sådan plikt. Detta på grund av att begreppet lojalitet inte har någon entydig definition. För att plikten ska fylla en funktion måste den preciseras och det är precis vad HD har gjort i sina senare avgöranden. Domstolen har stadgat ett antal förpliktelser stödda på lojalitetsresonemang. Någon hänvisning till en allmän lojalitetsplikt är dock egentligen inte nödvändig för att legitimera dessa förpliktelser då alla förpliktelser bygger på intresseavvägningar. Lojalitetsplikten fyller därmed inte någon annan funktion än som ett samlingsbegrepp för förpliktelser stödda på lojalitetsresonemang.

Frågan är då vilket utslag de av HD stadgade förpliktelserna får på entreprenadrättens område. I ett entreprenadrättsligt avgörande från 2018 stadgade HD att Allmänna bestämmelser bygger på en rimlig balans mellan rättigheter och skyldigheter och att de risker som entreprenadverksamheten är förknippad med ska fördelas på ett effektivt och förutsebart sätt. Dessa särdrag måste tas hänsyn till då entreprenadavtal ska fyllas ut med dispositiva regler baserade på lojalitetsresonemang. Parterna måste kunna förutse riskerna med avtalet vid avtalsingåendet och förpliktelser som rubbar rättighetsbalansen i för stor utsträckning kan inte åläggas parterna då de passar illa in i det entreprenadrättsliga systemet. Dessutom är Allmänna bestämmelser detaljreglerade på ett sätt som innebär att det finns mindre utrymme för utfyllning av entreprenadavtal. Trots detta bör de av HD stadgade förpliktelserna ändå kunna tillämpas på entreprenadrättens område. Detta då de bygger vidare på tidigare avtalsrättslig praxis från HD som omfattat entreprenadavtalsparter. Dessutom innebär förpliktelserna ingen större avvikelse från vad som redan gäller uttryckligen enligt AB 04. Därmed rubbas inte rättighetsbalansen eller riskfördelningen mellan parterna nämnvärt. (Less)
Abstract
The Swedish view of contractual relations has previously emphasized the parties’ contractual freedom and has been characterized by a restrictiveness towards imposing obligations on the parties beyond what expressly follows from the agreement. Development in the area of contract law has led to the contractual relationship being seen rather as a cooperative relationship than a counter-party relationship. In accordance with that development, contracting parties have been deemed to have an obligation to observe and safeguard their counter-party’s interest, a so-called general duty of loyalty. Such a general contractual duty of loyalty has gained acceptance in Swedish legal science literature, and the perception has been that contracting... (More)
The Swedish view of contractual relations has previously emphasized the parties’ contractual freedom and has been characterized by a restrictiveness towards imposing obligations on the parties beyond what expressly follows from the agreement. Development in the area of contract law has led to the contractual relationship being seen rather as a cooperative relationship than a counter-party relationship. In accordance with that development, contracting parties have been deemed to have an obligation to observe and safeguard their counter-party’s interest, a so-called general duty of loyalty. Such a general contractual duty of loyalty has gained acceptance in Swedish legal science literature, and the perception has been that contracting parties, according to the duty, could be imposed by obligations that do not explicitly follow from the parties’ agreement. However, the status of the duty has been uncertain since it has not been statutory, nor has it been referred to by the supreme court. Be that as it may, in the years 2017 and 2018, the supreme court decided a number of cases where the court explicitly referred to a duty of loyalty between the parties. This thesis aims at determining the impact these decisions has had on the development of the duty of loyalty in Swedish law, and especially in the field of construction contract law. The intention is to answer which obligations arise for contracting parties in the field according to the duty of loyalty. In order to succeed, I have chosen to conduct a traditional legal investigation of authoritative sources of law.

A construction contract refers to a contract for the construction of a building or other fixed site on land or in water. Such contracts between commercial parties are not regulated by law, which has meant that a number of standard agreements, called Allmänna bestämmelser, has had a big impact in the field of construction contract law. The most influential standard agreement is AB 04, which regulates the relationship between the client and the contractor when the client performs the design and the contractor performs the execution of the construction. The preamble to AB 04 as well as the commentary to chapter 4 article 3 states that a general duty of loyalty applies between the parties. The preamble addresses the contracting parties’ obligation to cooperate and inform each other during the term of the agreement, while the commentary addresses the rational use of resources that a contractor is expected to apply to limit the impact of an obstacle. However, based on reasoning about loyalty, more obligations beyond those expressly provided in AB 04, could be imposed on contracting parties to construction contracts.

What the supreme court has ruled in its subsequent decisions is that agreements require loyal cooperation between parties, especially with regard to long-term contractual relations. The obligation to cooperate includes a general obligation of notification. A party is required to notify its counter-party of its plans to evoke sanctions due to breach of contract, when the party is aware that the counter-party relies on a judicial assessment that is incorrect, when the party has given the counter-party the impression that the party has remitted its right or when the party for a very long time has omitted to claim a right. If the party does not notify its counter-party, it follows from general commercial law principles that the party may lose rights under the agreement because of its inaction. The exact application of the obligations is determined in the individual case, depending on, inter alia, the type of agreement and the contractual relationship.

My conclusion is that a general duty of loyalty does not independently exist. So is the case because of the impossibility to bring a successful action before a court based solely on the cause that the counter-party violated such a duty. This is due to the term loyalty being ambiguous. In order for the duty of loyalty to fill a function, it has to be more clearly defined and that is what the supreme court has accomplished in its subsequent decisions. The court has established a number of obligations based on reasoning about loyalty. However, referring to a duty of loyalty is not necessary to legitimize these obligations, fact is all obligations are based on balances between interests. Therefore, the duty of loyalty is not meaningful other than as a collective term for obligations based on reasoning about loyalty.

The question then is what the outcome of the obligations laid down by the supreme court is in the area of construction contract law. In a construction contractual decision from 2018, the supreme court ruled that Allmänna bestämmelser were based on a reasonable balance between rights and obligations and that the risks associated with the construction business should be distributed in an efficient and foreseeable manner. These features must be considered when contractual agreements are to be supplemented with optional provisions based on reasoning about loyalty. The parties must be able to anticipate the risks at the time for the conclusion of the contract and obligations that overthrow the balance between rights and obligations to a large extent, cannot be imposed on the parties as they fit badly into the construction contractual system. In addition, Allmänna bestämmelser are regulated in a detailed manner that leaves less space to supplement agreements with optional provisions. Nevertheless, the obligations laid down by the supreme court should still apply to the area of construction contract law. This is because the obligations are based on earlier court practice from the supreme court that included parties to construction contracts. Also, the obligations do not mean any significant deviation from what already applies in absolute terms according to AB 04. Thus, the obligations do not overthrow the balance between rights and obligations between the parties in a considerable manner. (Less)
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author
Waldebrink, Johan LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
The duty of loyalty for parties to construction contracts according to the provisions of AB 04
course
JURM02 20182
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
lojalitet, entreprenadrätt, avtalsrätt, AB 04
language
Swedish
id
8965047
date added to LUP
2019-01-28 12:41:35
date last changed
2019-01-28 12:41:35
@misc{8965047,
  abstract     = {The Swedish view of contractual relations has previously emphasized the parties’ contractual freedom and has been characterized by a restrictiveness towards imposing obligations on the parties beyond what expressly follows from the agreement. Development in the area of contract law has led to the contractual relationship being seen rather as a cooperative relationship than a counter-party relationship. In accordance with that development, contracting parties have been deemed to have an obligation to observe and safeguard their counter-party’s interest, a so-called general duty of loyalty. Such a general contractual duty of loyalty has gained acceptance in Swedish legal science literature, and the perception has been that contracting parties, according to the duty, could be imposed by obligations that do not explicitly follow from the parties’ agreement. However, the status of the duty has been uncertain since it has not been statutory, nor has it been referred to by the supreme court. Be that as it may, in the years 2017 and 2018, the supreme court decided a number of cases where the court explicitly referred to a duty of loyalty between the parties. This thesis aims at determining the impact these decisions has had on the development of the duty of loyalty in Swedish law, and especially in the field of construction contract law. The intention is to answer which obligations arise for contracting parties in the field according to the duty of loyalty. In order to succeed, I have chosen to conduct a traditional legal investigation of authoritative sources of law.

A construction contract refers to a contract for the construction of a building or other fixed site on land or in water. Such contracts between commercial parties are not regulated by law, which has meant that a number of standard agreements, called Allmänna bestämmelser, has had a big impact in the field of construction contract law. The most influential standard agreement is AB 04, which regulates the relationship between the client and the contractor when the client performs the design and the contractor performs the execution of the construction. The preamble to AB 04 as well as the commentary to chapter 4 article 3 states that a general duty of loyalty applies between the parties. The preamble addresses the contracting parties’ obligation to cooperate and inform each other during the term of the agreement, while the commentary addresses the rational use of resources that a contractor is expected to apply to limit the impact of an obstacle. However, based on reasoning about loyalty, more obligations beyond those expressly provided in AB 04, could be imposed on contracting parties to construction contracts. 

What the supreme court has ruled in its subsequent decisions is that agreements require loyal cooperation between parties, especially with regard to long-term contractual relations. The obligation to cooperate includes a general obligation of notification. A party is required to notify its counter-party of its plans to evoke sanctions due to breach of contract, when the party is aware that the counter-party relies on a judicial assessment that is incorrect, when the party has given the counter-party the impression that the party has remitted its right or when the party for a very long time has omitted to claim a right. If the party does not notify its counter-party, it follows from general commercial law principles that the party may lose rights under the agreement because of its inaction. The exact application of the obligations is determined in the individual case, depending on, inter alia, the type of agreement and the contractual relationship. 

My conclusion is that a general duty of loyalty does not independently exist. So is the case because of the impossibility to bring a successful action before a court based solely on the cause that the counter-party violated such a duty. This is due to the term loyalty being ambiguous. In order for the duty of loyalty to fill a function, it has to be more clearly defined and that is what the supreme court has accomplished in its subsequent decisions. The court has established a number of obligations based on reasoning about loyalty. However, referring to a duty of loyalty is not necessary to legitimize these obligations, fact is all obligations are based on balances between interests. Therefore, the duty of loyalty is not meaningful other than as a collective term for obligations based on reasoning about loyalty. 

The question then is what the outcome of the obligations laid down by the supreme court is in the area of construction contract law. In a construction contractual decision from 2018, the supreme court ruled that Allmänna bestämmelser were based on a reasonable balance between rights and obligations and that the risks associated with the construction business should be distributed in an efficient and foreseeable manner. These features must be considered when contractual agreements are to be supplemented with optional provisions based on reasoning about loyalty. The parties must be able to anticipate the risks at the time for the conclusion of the contract and obligations that overthrow the balance between rights and obligations to a large extent, cannot be imposed on the parties as they fit badly into the construction contractual system. In addition, Allmänna bestämmelser are regulated in a detailed manner that leaves less space to supplement agreements with optional provisions. Nevertheless, the obligations laid down by the supreme court should still apply to the area of construction contract law. This is because the obligations are based on earlier court practice from the supreme court that included parties to construction contracts. Also, the obligations do not mean any significant deviation from what already applies in absolute terms according to AB 04. Thus, the obligations do not overthrow the balance between rights and obligations between the parties in a considerable manner.},
  author       = {Waldebrink, Johan},
  keyword      = {lojalitet,entreprenadrätt,avtalsrätt,AB 04},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Avtalsparters lojalitetsplikt vid utförandeentreprenad enligt bestämmelserna i AB 04},
  year         = {2018},
}