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Columbia Law School

2003

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Columbia Law Review

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A Theory Of Self-Enforcing Indefinite Agreements, Robert E. Scott Jan 2003

A Theory Of Self-Enforcing Indefinite Agreements, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

One of the core principles of contract law is the requirement of definiteness. Conventional wisdom holds, however, that the indefiniteness doctrine is largely ignored by courts. In this Article, Professor Scott examines the contemporary case law on indefinite contracts and his review yields three striking findings. First, there is a surprisingly high volume of litigation. Second, the indefiniteness doctrine lives on in the common law of contracts. Third, a large number of the indefiniteness cases involve contracts that are "deliberately" incomplete – that is, parties have declined to condition performance on available, verifiable measures that could be specified in the contract ...