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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Common Law As An Iterative Process: A Preliminary Inquiry, Lawrence A. Cunningham Jun 2006

The Common Law As An Iterative Process: A Preliminary Inquiry, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The common law often is casually referred to as an iterative process without much attention given to the detailed attributes such processes exhibit. This Article explores this characterization, uncovering how common law as an iterative process is one of endless repetition that is simultaneously stable and dynamic, self-similar but evolving, complex yet simple. These attributes constrain the systemic significance of judicial discretion and also confirm the wisdom of traditional approaches to studying and learning law. As an iterative system, common law exhibits what physicists call sensitive dependence on initial conditions. This generates a path dependency from which it may be ...


Commodification And Contract Formation: Placing The Consideration Doctrine On Stronger Foundations, David Gamage, Allon Kedem Jan 2006

Commodification And Contract Formation: Placing The Consideration Doctrine On Stronger Foundations, David Gamage, Allon Kedem

Articles by Maurer Faculty

Under the traditional consideration doctrine, a promise is only legally enforceable if it is made in exchange for something of value. This doctrine lies at the heart of contract law, yet it lacks a sound theoretical justification a fact that has confounded generations of scholars and created a mess of case law.

This article argues that the failure of traditional justifications for the doctrine comes from two mistaken assumptions. First, previous scholars have assumed that anyone can back a promise with nominal consideration if they wish to do so. We show how social norms against commodification limit the availability of ...


Formalism In American Contract Law: Classical And Contemporary, Mark L. Movsesian Jan 2006

Formalism In American Contract Law: Classical And Contemporary, Mark L. Movsesian

Faculty Publications

It is a universally acknowledged truth that we live in a formalist era—at least when it comes to American contract law. Much more than the jurisprudence of a generation ago, today's cutting-edge work in American contract scholarship values the formalist virtues of bright-line rules, objective interpretation, and party autonomy. Policing bargains for substantive fairness seems more and more an outdated notion. Courts, it is thought, should refrain from interfering with market exchanges. Private arbitration has displaced courts in the context of many traditional contract disputes. Even adhesion contracts find their defenders, much to the chagrin of communitarian scholars ...