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Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Public Law and Legal Theory

Empirical legal studies

2015

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Intuitive Formalism In Contract, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan Jan 2015

Intuitive Formalism In Contract, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Article starts with the proposition that most American contracting is consumer contracting, posits that consumer contracting has particular and even peculiar doctrinal features, and concludes that these features dominate the lay understanding of contract law. Contracts of adhesion constitute the bulk of consumer experience with contract law. It is not hard to see that someone discerning the nature of contract law from a sample composed almost entirely of boilerplate terms and conditions would come quickly to the conclusion that contract law is highly formal.

Within the realm of potentially enforceable deals (i.e., those that are supported by consideration ...