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Columbia Law School

Contracts

Contract law

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Foreign Contracts And U.S. Copyright Termination Rights: What Law Applies? – Comment, Richard Arnold, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2020

Foreign Contracts And U.S. Copyright Termination Rights: What Law Applies? – Comment, Richard Arnold, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

The U.S. Copyright Act gives authors the right to terminate assignments of copyrights in works other than works for hire executed on or after 1 January 1978 after 35 years, and to do so notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary. Given that agreements which are subject to the laws of other countries can assign U.S. copyrights, and purport to do so in perpetuity, U.S. law’s preclusion of agreements contrary to the author’s right to exercise her termination right can give rise to a difficult choice of law issue. Two recent cases which came before courts ...


Choice Theory: A Restatement, Michael A. Heller, Hanoch Dagan Jan 2019

Choice Theory: A Restatement, Michael A. Heller, Hanoch Dagan

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter restates choice theory, which advances a liberal approach to contract law. First, we refine the concept of autonomy for contract. Then we address range, limit, and floor, three principles that together justify contract law in a liberal society. The first concerns the state’s obligation to be proactive in facilitating the availability of a multiplicity of contract types. The second refers to the respect contract law owes to the autonomy of a party’s future self, that is, to the ability to re-write the story of one’s life. The final principle concerns relational justice, the baseline for ...


Some Issues On The Law Of Direct Damages (Us And Uk), Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2019

Some Issues On The Law Of Direct Damages (Us And Uk), Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

When a contract is breached both US and UK law provide that the non-breaching party should be made whole. I propose a general principle that should guide implementation – the contract is an asset and the problem is one of determining the change in value of that asset at the time of the breach. In the simplest case, the breach of a contract for the sale of a commodity in a thick market, the change in the value of the asset is simply the contract-market differential; the contract-as-asset notion doesn’t add much. It becomes more useful as we move away ...


Why Autonomy Must Be Contract's Ultimate Value, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller Jan 2018

Why Autonomy Must Be Contract's Ultimate Value, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller

Faculty Scholarship

In “The Choice Theory of Contracts”, we develop a liberal theory of contract law. One core task of the book was to persuade advocates of economic analysis that they must situate their enterprise within our liberal framework. Autonomy, rightly understood, is the telos of contract.

Oren Bar-Gill pushes back strongly in “Choice Theory and the Economic Analysis of Contracts”. He offers a penetrating – perhaps devastating – critique of our approach. Bar-Gill notes the substantial convergence between choice theory and a welfarist view. If he is right, then what does choice theory add?

Our task in Part I of this Essay is ...


Autonomy For Contract, Refined, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller Jan 2018

Autonomy For Contract, Refined, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller

Faculty Scholarship

In The Choice Theory of Contracts, we advance a claim about the centrality of autonomy to contract. This Issue offers thoughtful and penetrating critiques. Here, we reply. Autonomy is the grounding principle of contract. In Choice Theory, we stressed the (1) proactive facilitation component of autonomy, in particular, the state’s obligation regarding contract types. Here, we highlight two additional, necessary implications of autonomy for contract: (2) regard for future selves and (3) relational justice. These three aspects of autonomy shape the range, limit, and floor, respectively, for the legitimate use of contract. They provide a principled and constrained path ...


The Choice Theory Of Contracts (Introduction), Hanoch Dagan, Michael Heller Jan 2017

The Choice Theory Of Contracts (Introduction), Hanoch Dagan, Michael Heller

Faculty Scholarship

This concise landmark in law and jurisprudence offers the first coherent, liberal account of contract law. "The Choice Theory of Contracts" answers the field's most pressing questions: What is the “freedom” in “freedom of contract”? What core values animate contract law and how do those values interrelate? How must the state act when it shapes contract law? Hanoch Dagan and Michael Heller show exactly why and how freedom matters to contract. They start with the most appealing tenets of modern liberalism and end with their implications for contract law. This readable, engaging book gives contract scholars, teachers, and students ...


The Common Law Of Contract And The Default Rule Project, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott Jan 2016

The Common Law Of Contract And The Default Rule Project, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

The common law developed over centuries a small set of default rules that courts have used to fill gaps in otherwise incomplete contracts between commercial parties. These rules can be applied almost independently of context: the market damages rule, for example, requires a court only to know the difference between market and contract prices. When parties in various sectors of the economy write sales contracts but leave terms blank, courts fill in the blanks with their own rules. As a consequence, a judicial rule that many parties accept must be "transcontextual": parties in varied commercial contexts accept the courts' rule ...


The Common Law Of Contract And The Default Rule Project, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott Jan 2016

The Common Law Of Contract And The Default Rule Project, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

The common law developed over centuries a small set of default rules that courts have used to fill gaps in otherwise incomplete contracts between commercial parties. These rules can be applied almost independently of context: the market damages rule, for example, requires a court only to know the difference between market and contract prices. When parties in various sectors of the economy write sales contracts but leave terms blank, courts fill in the blanks with their own rules. As a consequence, a judicial rule that many parties accept must be “transcontextual”: parties in varied commercial contexts accept the courts’ rule ...


The Common Law Of Contract And The Default Rule Project, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott Jan 2016

The Common Law Of Contract And The Default Rule Project, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

The common law developed over centuries a small set of default rules that courts have used to fill gaps in otherwise incomplete contracts between commercial parties. These rules can be applied almost independently of context: the market damages rule, for example, requires a court only to know the difference between market and contract prices. When parties in various sectors of the economy write sales contracts but leave terms blank, courts fill in the blanks with their own rules. As a consequence, a judicial rule that many parties accept must be “transcontextual”: parties in varied commercial contexts accept the courts’ rule ...


Corporate Control And Credible Commitment, Ronald J. Gilson, Alan Schwartz Jan 2012

Corporate Control And Credible Commitment, Ronald J. Gilson, Alan Schwartz

Faculty Scholarship

The separation of control and ownership – the ability of a small group effectively to control a company though holding a minority of its cash flow rights – is common throughout the world, but also is commonly decried. The control group, it is thought, will use its position to consume excessive amounts of project returns, and this injures minority shareholders in two ways: there is less money and the controllers are not maximizing firm value. To the contrary, we argue here that there is an optimal share of the firm that compensates the control group for monitoring managers and otherwise exerting effort ...


Transparency And Determinacy In Common Law Adjudication: A Philosophical Defense Of Explanatory Economic Analysis, Jody S. Kraus Jan 2007

Transparency And Determinacy In Common Law Adjudication: A Philosophical Defense Of Explanatory Economic Analysis, Jody S. Kraus

Faculty Scholarship

Explanatory economic analysis of the common law has long been subject to deep philosophical skepticism for two reasons. First, common law decisions appear to be cast in the language of deontic morality, not the consequentialist language of efficiency. For this reason, philosophers have claimed that explanatory economic analysis cannot satisfy the transparency criterion, which holds that a legal theory's explanation must provide a plausible account of the relationship between the reasoning it claims judges actually use to decide cases and the express reasoning judges provide in their opinions. Philosophers have doubted that the economic analysis has a plausible account ...


The Law And Economics Of Contracts, Benjamin E. Hermalin, Avery W. Katz, Richard Craswell Jan 2006

The Law And Economics Of Contracts, Benjamin E. Hermalin, Avery W. Katz, Richard Craswell

Faculty Scholarship

This paper, which will appear as a chapter in the forthcoming Handbook of Law and Economics (A.M. Polinsky & S. Shavell, eds.), surveys major issues arising in the economic analysis of contract law. It begins with an introductory discussion of scope and methodology, and then addresses four topic areas that correspond to the major doctrinal divisions of the law of contracts. These areas include freedom of contract (i.e., the scope of private power to create binding obligations), formation of contracts (both the procedural mechanics of exchange, and rules that govern pre-contractual behavior), contract interpretation (what consequences follow when agreements ...


Legal Ground Rules In Coordinated And Liberal Market Economies, Katharina Pistor Jan 2005

Legal Ground Rules In Coordinated And Liberal Market Economies, Katharina Pistor

Faculty Scholarship

Two parallel literatures have explored differences across legal and economic systems,noting that countries can be loosely grouped into liberal vs. coordinated market economies on the one hand, and common law vs. civil law countries on the other. These two groups largely overlap. Liberal market economies (LMEs) tend to have a common law tradition, while coordinated market economies (CMEs) belong to the civil law family (French or German). This paper argues that this overlap is not coincidental. The link between legal and economic systems are social preferences reffected in basic norms, or ground rules, found in substantive and procedural laws ...


The Efficient Design Of Option Contracts: Principles And Applications, Avery W. Katz Jan 2004

The Efficient Design Of Option Contracts: Principles And Applications, Avery W. Katz

Faculty Scholarship

The law of contracts has often treated options quite differently from other contractual transactions; for example, the characterization of a transaction as an option contract calls forth specially required formalities, but on the other hand often has the effect of releasing parties from doctrinal limitations on their contractual freedom, such as the duty to mitigate damages or the rule that holds excessively high liquidated damages void as penalties. Such differential treatment is challenging to explain from a functional viewpoint, in part because all contracts resemble options to the extent they are enforceable in terms of monetary damages, and in part ...


The Economics Of Form And Substance In Contract Interpretation, Avery W. Katz Jan 2004

The Economics Of Form And Substance In Contract Interpretation, Avery W. Katz

Faculty Scholarship

For over a century, legal commentators have debated the relative merits of formal and substantive approaches to the interpretation of contracts; in recent years, the debate has increasingly been conducted in the language of the economic approach to contract law. While this new wave of scholarship has been relatively successful in relating the traditional debates over formalism to specific transactional and institutional problems such as imperfect information, it has been less productive in terms of generating useful legal or policy recommendations. This Essay proposes a different approach: one that focuses on private rather than public legal decisionmakers as its primary ...


The Economics Of Form And Substance In Contract Interpretation, Avery W. Katz Jan 2003

The Economics Of Form And Substance In Contract Interpretation, Avery W. Katz

Faculty Scholarship

For the past 100 years or so the historical trend in the law of contracts has been to water down formal interpretive doctrines in favor of a more all-things-considered analysis of what the parties may have meant or what justice might require in the individual case. This trend away from formal and toward substantive interpretation of contracts has been alternately celebrated and criticized for over a century; and in recent years, a number of economically influenced scholars, in translating some of the classic arguments into economic language, have helped to clarify some of the traditional commentators' concerns. While this new ...