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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Judicial Admissions Exception To The Statute Of Frauds: A Curiously Gradual Adoption, Wayne Barnes Dec 2020

The Judicial Admissions Exception To The Statute Of Frauds: A Curiously Gradual Adoption, Wayne Barnes

Faculty Scholarship

The statute of frauds requires certain categories of contracts to be evidenced by a signed writing. The original purpose of the statute of frauds, indeed its titular purpose, is the prevention of the fraudulent assertion of a non-existent oral contract. Although a signed writing is the formal way in which to satisfy the statute of frauds, courts have long recognized various exceptions to the writing requirement which will be held to satisfy the statute absent a writing. The effect of such exceptions is that they constitute an alternative form of evidence for the presence of a contract. One such exception ...


Lying And Cheating, Or Self-Help And Civil-Disobedience?, Aditi Bagchi Jan 2020

Lying And Cheating, Or Self-Help And Civil-Disobedience?, Aditi Bagchi

Faculty Scholarship

May poor sellers lie to rich buyers? This article argues that, under limited circumstances, sellers may indeed have a license to lie about their goods. Where sellers are losers under unjust background institutions and they reasonably believe that buyers have more than they would under just institutions, lies that result in de minimum transfers can be regarded as a kind of self-help. More generally, what we owe each other in our interpersonal interactions depends on the institutional backdrop. Consumer contract law, including its enforcement regimes, should recognize the social and political contingency of sellers’ obligations to buyers. In other contexts ...


Interpreting Contracts In A Regulatory State, Aditi Bagchi Jan 2020

Interpreting Contracts In A Regulatory State, Aditi Bagchi

Faculty Scholarship

Some scholars would limit courts to the text of written agreements when interpreting contracts on the theory that parties meant what they said, and said what they meant. Other scholars would have courts take into account the factual context surrounding contract formation. Both sides of this debate assume that contract interpretation is largely limited to reconstructing contracting parties’ intentions.

This assumption is mistaken. Since the overturning of Lochner v New York, contracting parties no longer have exclusive authority over contracts. State authority to regulate contract came at the expense of unbridled private authority. A more limited conception of contracting parties ...


The Myth Of Optimal Expectation Damages, Theresa Arnold, Amanda Dixon, Madison Sherrill, Mitu Gulati Jan 2020

The Myth Of Optimal Expectation Damages, Theresa Arnold, Amanda Dixon, Madison Sherrill, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

A much-debated question in contract law scholarship is what the optimal measure of damages for breach should be. The casebook answer-drawing from the theory of efficient breach-is expectation damages. This standard answer, which was a major contribution of the law and economics field, has come under attack by theoreticians within that field itself. To shed an empirical perspective on the question, we look at data on the types of damages provisions parties contract/or themselves in international debt contracts. Specifically, we examine issuer call provisions, which are economically equivalent to damages for prepayment, yet not viewed as legally problematic in ...


The Paradox Of Contracting In Markets, Robert E. Scott Jan 2020

The Paradox Of Contracting In Markets, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Contract design that motivates parties to invest and trade more efficiently occurs primarily in thin markets characterized by bespoke, bilateral agreements between commercial parties. In that environment, the cost of producing each contract is relatively high. Those costs are justified by offsetting design improvements in contractual incentives. In contrast, more efficient production of contract terms occurs in thick, multilateral markets where parties can realize the scale advantages of standardization. In this environment, the cost of producing individual contracts is relatively low but at the offsetting cost of undermining contractual incentives. These very different trade-offs are dictated by changes in the ...


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

Foreign Contracts And U.S. Copyright Termination Rights: What Law Applies? – Comment, 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 ...


Innovation Versus Encrustation: Agency Costs In Contract Reproduction, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott Jan 2020

Innovation Versus Encrustation: Agency Costs In Contract Reproduction, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

This article studies the impact of exogenous legal change on whether and how lawyers across four different deal types revise their contracts’ governing law clauses in order to solve the problem that the legal change created. The governing law clause is present in practically every contract across a wide range of industries and, in particular, it appears in deals as disparate as private equity M&A transactions and sovereign bond issuances. Properly drafted, the clause increases the ex ante economic value of the contract to both parties by reducing uncertainty and litigation risk. We posit that different levels of agency ...


Specific Performance, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller Jan 2020

Specific Performance, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller

Faculty Scholarship

When should specific performance be available for breach of contract? This question has engaged generations of legal economists and philosophers, historians and comparativists. Yet none of these disciplines have provided a persuasive answer. This Article provides a normatively-attractive and conceptually-coherent account. Respect for the autonomy of the promisor’s future self explains why expectation damages are, and should be, the ordinary remedy for contract breach. Also, this same normative commitment to the contracting parties’ autonomy best justifies the “uniqueness exception,” where specific performance is typically awarded, and the personal services exclusion, where it is not. For the most part, the ...


The Economics Of Leasing, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2020

The Economics Of Leasing, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

Leasing may be the most important legal institution that has received virtually no systematic scholarly attention. Real property leasing is familiar in the context of residential tenancies. But it is also widely used in commercial contexts, including office buildings and shopping centers. Personal property leasing, which was rarely encountered before World War II, has more recently exploded on a world-wide basis, with everything from autos to farm equipment to airplanes being leased. This article seeks to develop a composite picture of the defining features of leases and why leasing is such a widespread and highly successful economic institution.

The reasons ...