Adhesion Contract

Adhesion Contract or the Contract of Adhesion — договор присоединения («dogovor prisoyedineniya») — is a contract whose terms are determined by one party and signed by another, a weaker party.

As the Russian law stands, «the party adhering to the contract has the right to demand the rescission or change of the contract if the contract of adhesion — even if it does not contradict the law — deprives this party of rights usually granted under contracts of such type, excludes of limits the liability of the other party for the violations of obligations or contains other terms clearly burdensome for the adhering party, that it, on the basis of its reasonably understood interests, would not have accepted if it had the possibility to take part in drafting the terms of the contract». (Article 428 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation).

The idea behind this rule of law is that a weaker party, usually a consumer with little commercial leverage who cannot influence the terms and has to sign the contract as it is, could have some protection against bigger and more cunning players.

Curiously, the courts of general jurisdiction — which are closer to ordinary people and, thus, are supposed to protect the rights of consumers — do not like this rule and almost never enforce it. Commercial courts, on the other hand, take a more protectionist approach (Newsletter No. 147 of the Supreme Commercial Court «Court Practice Overview of Disputes Relating to the Application of  the Russian Civil Code Provisions on Loan Agreements»).