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Contract Law

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Developments In Contract Law: The 2021-2022 Term — The Enduring Allure Of Freedom Of Contract, Marcus Moore Aug 2023

Developments In Contract Law: The 2021-2022 Term — The Enduring Allure Of Freedom Of Contract, Marcus Moore

All Faculty Publications

A review of recent developments in Contract Law reveals that Freedom of Contract continues to thrive in the jurisprudence a half-century after its supposed fall. As the analysis here shows, it is a theme which animates not only general thinking about contracts, but also court resolution of specific cases and issues. High-level considerations drive the reasoning, colouring the application of more detailed rules where these exist. And among these high-level considerations, Freedom of Contract enjoys privileged status as the default law, against which opposing considerations in practice must justify themselves as exceptions. Other considerations vary in their power to constrain …


Misrepresentation And Contract, Gregory Klass Mar 2023

Misrepresentation And Contract, Gregory Klass

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Contract theorists naturally focus on the duty to perform. This chapter argues they should also pay attention to duties of candor in the contracting context. The most obvious example of such duties can be found in the misrepresentation defenses, which aim to ensure that contractual undertakings are sufficiently voluntary and to allocate the costs of defective consent. But other laws of deception, such as the torts of negligent misrepresentation and deceit, are also integral to the law of contracts. Separate liability in tort for both pre- and post-formation misrepresentations helps parties who mistrust one another determine whether an exchange is …


Developments In Contract Law: The 2020-2021 Term – Appeals To Fairness, Marcus Moore Aug 2022

Developments In Contract Law: The 2020-2021 Term – Appeals To Fairness, Marcus Moore

All Faculty Publications

This article analyzes important developments in Contract Law stemming from consideration by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2020-2021. Due to the large number of Contracts cases during this period, the article focuses on prominent appeals occupied with issues of fairness in Canadian Contract Law. Fairness in contracts emerges as an important concern of the SCC at this juncture. This appropriately reflects the constellation of some long-unsolved problems (e.g., control of unfair terms in standard form contracts), confusion around key concepts associated with protection of contractual fairness (e.g., unconscionability and good faith), and judicial disagreement over the merits of general …


Sexual Agreements, Susan Frelich Appleton, Albertina Antognini Jan 2022

Sexual Agreements, Susan Frelich Appleton, Albertina Antognini

Scholarship@WashULaw

Few would find it surprising that an agreement for sex falls outside the bounds of contract law. Prostitution—defined as an exchange of sex for money—has long been a crime, a point that courts often make in declining to enforce agreements between unmarried partners. In fact, courts routinely invalidate contracts when sex forms the basis of a couple’s bargain, whether married or not, and whether the sex is explicit or inferred from the relationship itself. A closer look at the legal treatment of sexual agreements, however, tells a more complicated story. Although courts reject sex as consideration for being “meretricious” or …


The Market As Negotiation, Rebecca E. Hollander-Blumoff, Matthew T. Bodie Jan 2021

The Market As Negotiation, Rebecca E. Hollander-Blumoff, Matthew T. Bodie

Scholarship@WashULaw

Our economic system counts on markets to allocate most of our societal resources. The law often treats markets as discrete entities, with a native intelligence and structure that provides clear answers to questions about prices and terms. In reality, of course, markets are much messier—they are agglomerations of negotiations by individual parties. Despite theoretical and empirical work on markets and on negotiation, legal scholars have largely overlooked the connection between the two areas in considering how markets are constructed and regulated.

This Article brings together scholarship in law, economics, sociology, and psychology to better understand the role that negotiation plays …


Rethinking Mistake In The Age Of Algorithms: Quoine Pte Ltd V B2c2 Ltd, Vincent Ooi, Kian Peng Soh Sep 2020

Rethinking Mistake In The Age Of Algorithms: Quoine Pte Ltd V B2c2 Ltd, Vincent Ooi, Kian Peng Soh

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

Good traders remove emotion from the decision-making process. Automated trading algorithms have enabled this, allowing one to trade round the clock, and without the constant need to monitor one’s investments. But software has gremlins. Given the vast amounts of money involved in such trades, it was only a matter of time before disputes involving automated trading software came before the courts. The decision in Quoine v B2C2 (“Quoine”) represents the first time an apex court in the Commonwealth has ruled on the applicability of contractual principles to situations involving automated trading software.


Rethinking Mistake In The Age Of Algorithms, Vincent Ooi, Kian Peng Soh Sep 2020

Rethinking Mistake In The Age Of Algorithms, Vincent Ooi, Kian Peng Soh

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

In our previous note: Cryptocurrencies and Code before the Courts ((2019) 30(3) King’s Law Journal 331 - 337), we discussed the Singapore International Commercial Court (High Court)’s decision in B2C2 Ltd v Quoine Pte Ltd. The case subsequently went on appeal, and the Singapore International Commercial Court (Court of Appeal), by a majority, affirmed the decision of the lower court in Quoine v B2C2 (“Quoine”). The case of Quoine represents the first time an apex court in the Commonwealth has ruled on the applicability of contractual principles to situations involving automated trading software. In our recent case note: Rethinking Mistake …


Conscience And Justice In Equity: Comments On Equity: Conscience Goes To Market, Paul B. Miller Jan 2020

Conscience And Justice In Equity: Comments On Equity: Conscience Goes To Market, Paul B. Miller

Journal Articles

This short essay introduces and engages several philosophical questions raised by Irit Samet’s Equity: Conscience Goes to Market. Amongst other things, it addresses questions going to: the proper scope of equity; the relationship between equity’s remedial and supplemental functions; whether, and if so, to what extent equity promotes compliance with moral obligations; what, if any, moral aims animate equitable intervention; and whether, and if so, how, equity is distinctively concerned with matters of conscience and “particular” justice. All the while, I express appreciation for Samet’s project while raising some doubts about her views on how law and equity divide labor …


Contracts Formed By Software: When Things Go Wrong, Vincent Ooi Nov 2019

Contracts Formed By Software: When Things Go Wrong, Vincent Ooi

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

The use of software in contract formation is likely to become increasingly pervasive in light of the digital economy. Consequently, software can also be expected to exhibit greater autonomy and take on increasingly complex transactions and contract negotiations. It is important that a legally coherent, fair, certain and economically justified approach be taken to regulate such contracts.A ‘contracting problem’ arises when software is used to autonomously enter into contracts without human input. The formation of a valid contract requires, inter alia, an agreement between two or more parties, where each party exhibits an objective intention to be legally bound (the …


Cryptocurrencies And Code Before The Courts, Vincent Ooi, Kian Peng Soh Nov 2019

Cryptocurrencies And Code Before The Courts, Vincent Ooi, Kian Peng Soh

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

In the rapidly developing cyber sphere dominated by cryptocurrencies and code, it is perhaps not uncommon for firms to focus on cutting-edge technological developments leaving the law behind as an afterthought. B2C2 Ltd v Quoine Pte Ltd (‘B2C2’)1 may serve as a timely reminder of the importance of the legal principles supporting e-commerce and Fintech. In the first case of its kind, B2C2 raised several key questions before the Singapore International Commercial Court (‘SICC’), seeking clarification on how the established legal concepts of breach of trust, mistake and unjust enrichment might apply in the context where an automated contract-forming software …


Cryptocurrencies And Code Before The Courts, Vincent Ooi, Kian Peng Soh Sep 2019

Cryptocurrencies And Code Before The Courts, Vincent Ooi, Kian Peng Soh

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

In the rapidly developing cyber sphere of e-commerce and Fintech, dominated by cryptocurrencies and code, it is perhaps not uncommon for firms to focus on cutting-edge technological developments, leaving the law behind as an afterthought. However, the case of B2C2 Ltd v Quoine Pte Ltd (“B2C2”) may serve as a timely reminder of the importance of the legal principles supporting e-commerce and Fintech. In the first case of its kind, B2C2 raised several key questions before the Singapore International Commercial Court, seeking clarification on how the established legal concepts of breach of trust, mistake and unjust enrichment might apply in …


A Reformulated Test For Unconscionability, Vincent Ooi, Walter Yong Jun 2019

A Reformulated Test For Unconscionability, Vincent Ooi, Walter Yong

Research Collection Yong Pung How School Of Law

Apart from its interesting facts, this case, BOM v BOK [2018] SGCA 83, is significant for its rejection of a “broad” doctrine of unconscionability, the existence of which has been a matter of some debate in English law, and which has been accepted in Australia (see Commercial Bank of Australia Ltd v Amadio (1983) 151 C.L.R. 447; (1983) 46 A.L.R. 402). It also proposes a new test for the doctrine of unconscionability that is narrower than Amadio, based on the requirements inCresswell v Potter [1978] 1 W.L.R. 255. The test for unconscionability in English law has been a matter of …


Contracts Formed By Software: An Approach From The Law Of Mistake, Vincent Ooi Feb 2019

Contracts Formed By Software: An Approach From The Law Of Mistake, Vincent Ooi

Centre for AI & Data Governance

A ‘Contracting Problem’ arises when software is used to autonomously enter into contracts without human input. Questions arise as to how and whether there can be an expression of an objective intention to be legally bound. This article considers three leading solutions to the Contracting Problem. The ‘Mere Tools Theory’, which views software as ‘mere tools’ of communication, is too harsh as it binds users to any software malfunction. The Agency Approach, which treats software as Electronic Agents, capable of contracting on behalf of their users, is untenable as it ascribes unrealistic characteristics to software. The article submits that the …


Contracts, Causation, And Clarity, Daniel P. O'Gorman Jan 2017

Contracts, Causation, And Clarity, Daniel P. O'Gorman

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Black Hole Problem In Commercial Boilerplate, Stephen J. Choi, G. Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott Jan 2017

The Black Hole Problem In Commercial Boilerplate, Stephen J. Choi, G. Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Rote use of a standard form contract term can erode its meaning, a phenomenon made worse when the process of encrustation introduces various formulations of the term. The foregoing process, when it occurs, weakens the communicative properties of boilerplate terms, leading some terms to lose much, if not all, meaning. In theory, if a clause is completely emptied of meaning through this process it can create a contractual “black hole.” The more frequent and thus potentially more pervasive problem arises when, as the term loses meaning, random variations in language appear and persist, resulting in what we term a “grey …


Principal Investments V. Harrison, 132 Nev. Adv. Op. 2 (Jan. 14, 2016), Katherine Maher Jan 2016

Principal Investments V. Harrison, 132 Nev. Adv. Op. 2 (Jan. 14, 2016), Katherine Maher

Nevada Supreme Court Summaries

The Court held unless the arbitration agreement commits the question to the arbitrator with “clear and unmistakable” language, a litigation-conduct waiver is presumptively for the court to decide because it is a waiver based on active litigation in court. Thus, the district court judge in this case did not err in addressing whether the moving party waived its right to arbitrate, instead of referring the question to the arbitrator.


Closing A Parol Evidence Rule Loophole: The Consideration Exception And The Preexisting Duty Rule, Daniel P. O'Gorman Jan 2016

Closing A Parol Evidence Rule Loophole: The Consideration Exception And The Preexisting Duty Rule, Daniel P. O'Gorman

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


When Lightning Strikes: Hadley V. Baxendale's Probability Standard Applied To Long-Shot Contracts, Daniel P. O'Gorman Jan 2016

When Lightning Strikes: Hadley V. Baxendale's Probability Standard Applied To Long-Shot Contracts, Daniel P. O'Gorman

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Sharing Research Data And Intellectual Property Law: A Primer, Michael Carroll Aug 2015

Sharing Research Data And Intellectual Property Law: A Primer, Michael Carroll

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

Sharing research data by depositing it in connection with a published article or otherwise making data publicly available sometimes raises intellectual property questions in the minds of depositing researchers, their employers, their funders, and other researchers who seek to reuse research data. In this context or in the drafting of data management plans, common questions are (1) what are the legal rights in data; (2) who has these rights; and (3) how does one with these rights use them to share data in a way that permits or encourages productive downstream uses? Leaving to the side privacy and national security …


Sharing Research Data And Intellectual Property Law: A Primer, Michael W. Carroll Aug 2015

Sharing Research Data And Intellectual Property Law: A Primer, Michael W. Carroll

Joint PIJIP/TLS Research Paper Series

Sharing research data by depositing it in connection with a published article or otherwise making data publicly available sometimes raises intellectual property questions in the minds of depositing researchers, their employers, their funders, and other researchers who seek to reuse research data. In this context or in the drafting of data management plans, common questions are (1) what are the legal rights in data; (2) who has these rights; and (3) how does one with these rights use them to share data in a way that permits or encourages productive downstream uses? Leaving to the side privacy and national security …


Sketches Of A Redemptive Theory Of Contract Law, Emily Houh Jan 2015

Sketches Of A Redemptive Theory Of Contract Law, Emily Houh

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

This Article is about the game we call contract law and what it does and means to those who, at one time or another, have been categorically barred from play. How have "outsider" players-such as racial minorities, women, and sexual minorities -entered the game and, subsequently, how have its governing rules-that is, contract doctrines applied or not applied to them? On the flipside, how have common law contract doctrines responded to the entry of new players in the game? And, to the extent contract law has so responded, why has it done so? In asking and responding to these questions, …


Contract Law And The Hand Formula, Daniel P. O'Gorman Jan 2014

Contract Law And The Hand Formula, Daniel P. O'Gorman

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Restatement (Second) Of Contracts Reasonably Certain Terms Requirement: A Model Of Neoclassical Contract Law And A Model Of Confusion And Inconsistency, Daniel P. O'Gorman Jan 2014

The Restatement (Second) Of Contracts Reasonably Certain Terms Requirement: A Model Of Neoclassical Contract Law And A Model Of Confusion And Inconsistency, Daniel P. O'Gorman

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Contract And Dispossession, Deborah W. Post Jul 2012

Contract And Dispossession, Deborah W. Post

Scholarly Works

This Essay, part of a collection of essays on the same theme, argues that contract law has become an instrument of oppression and dispossession rather than liberation. Having offered a critique, the challenge then is to consider whether it is possible to restore the liberatory potential of contract. The symposium, Post-Marxism, Post-Racialism & Other Fables of the Dispossession, was an invitation to consider the contemporary relevance of Marxist theory.

There are two reference points in this cultural critique. One is the importance of social position in a jurisprudence that embraces objectivity; the uncritical and unreflective reliance on hegemonic social …


Response To Reasonable Expectations In Sociocultural Context, David G. Epstein May 2011

Response To Reasonable Expectations In Sociocultural Context, David G. Epstein

Law Faculty Publications

The Article starts 6 (and ends)7 with the premise that contract law should enforce the reasonable expectations of the parties. This is a hard premise to challenge.8 And an even harder premise to apply.9 The Article recognizes the two problems with applying this premise: (1) how does a court decide what expectations are “reasonable,”10 and (2) what does a court do when the contracting parties have different reasonable expectations.11 The Article then uses two cases to illustrate how “sociocultural dissonance between a judge and contracting party”12 exacerbates these problems.


Contract Law's Two "P.E.'S": Promissory Estoppel And The Parole Evidence Rule, David G. Epstein Apr 2010

Contract Law's Two "P.E.'S": Promissory Estoppel And The Parole Evidence Rule, David G. Epstein

Law Faculty Publications

This article is about "P.E." Not the physical education class that you looked forward to in junior high school, but the two "P.E.'s" you dreaded in your first-year law school contracts class: (1) promissory estoppel and (2) the parol evidence rule.' Each is plenty complicated standing alone. This article considers what happens if the two bump into each other. More specifically, this article asks and answers the question: Should the parol evidence rule apply to promissory estoppel cases?


Contract Is Context, Peter A. Alces Jan 2010

Contract Is Context, Peter A. Alces

Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Contract Law, Party Sophistication And The New Formalism, Meredith R. Miller Jan 2010

Contract Law, Party Sophistication And The New Formalism, Meredith R. Miller

Scholarly Works

With increasing frequency, courts are mentioning party sophistication as relevant to whether a contract has been formed, whether a contract is enforceable, how the contract should be interpreted, and even, in some instances, the determination of an appropriate remedy. Sophisticated parties are held to a different set of rules, grounded in freedom of contract. It is presumed that a sophisticated party was aware of what to bargain for and read (or should have read) and understood (or should have understood) the terms of a written agreement.

But, just what do courts mean when they call a contracting party “sophisticated”?

“Sophistication” …


Clarifying The Boundary Between The Parol Evidence Rule And The Rules Governing Subsequent Oral Modifications, Gregory S. Crespi Jan 2008

Clarifying The Boundary Between The Parol Evidence Rule And The Rules Governing Subsequent Oral Modifications, Gregory S. Crespi

Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

In this article, the author analyzes the rules that govern the legal effectiveness of oral agreements that purport to modify written contracts. The article includes a discussion of four situations that raise difficult questions of whether oral agreements should be regarded as pre-written contract agreements (rather than as subsequent oral modifications) for purposes of the parol evidence rule. The author concludes that no doctrinal changes are called for in the contract formation timing rules currently applicable to these situations unless such changes are accompanied by broader judicial enforcement of no-oral-modification clauses.


Critical Race Realism: Re-Claiming The Antidiscrimination Principle Through The Doctrine Of Good Faith In Contract Law, Emily Houh Jan 2005

Critical Race Realism: Re-Claiming The Antidiscrimination Principle Through The Doctrine Of Good Faith In Contract Law, Emily Houh

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

This Article employs what it calls "critical race realism" to theorize and propose a common law antidiscrimination claim that incorporates contemporary re-conceptualizations of antidiscrimination jurisprudence and grounds itself doctrinally not in civil rights law but in the contractually implied obligation of good faith. "Critical race realism" refers in part to this Article's explicit goal, in proposing the common law claim, to re-conceive explicitly the private law doctrine of good faith as one that might assist in effecting a public law norm of equality. By employing critical race realism, this Article hopes to help revive the controversy over what constitutes the …