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Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter examines the concept of unconscionable bargains and the conditions under which it operates as a vitiating factor. It discusses the history of the court’s jurisdiction to give relief in cases of unconscionable bargains and explains the current scope of relief, considering the elements in modern case law on unconscionable bargains.

Chapter

Jack Beatson, Andrew Burrows, and John Cartwright

This chapter considers the rules of law which, operating upon certain sets of circumstances, will bring about the discharge of a contract. The discussions cover mergers, discharged by judgment of a court, alteration or cancellation of a written instrument, and bankruptcy.

Chapter

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter examines the concept of unconscionable bargains and the conditions under which it operates as a vitiating factor. It discusses the history of the court’s jurisdiction to give relief in cases of unconscionable bargains and explains the current scope of relief, considering the elements in modern case law on unconscionable bargains.

Chapter

This chapter evaluates the other requirement for an agreement to be legally enforceable: consideration. In its simplest form, consideration is often described as being something of value that is given (or promised) by each party in exchange for the other party’s promise or performance. Disputes concerning consideration usually begin by one party claiming that the other is in breach of their contract. The other party then argues that no consideration had been given in return for what they promised to do, and therefore the agreement is not enforceable. In a case concerning consideration, courts will typically focus on the obligations to be enforced, and then work out if something of value was given (or promised) in return for the performance of those obligations. Sometimes, a strict application of the consideration requirement is a barrier to reflecting the parties’ intentions. For that reason, the courts have developed a more relaxed approach in certain circumstances. There is also a limited exception to the requirement for consideration, which is known as promissory estoppel.

Chapter

This chapter investigates the basic law on the certainty and intention requirements in the creation of an agreement. To be legally enforceable as a contract, the agreement must be sufficiently certain and show an intention to enter a legal relationship. Agreements can be uncertain because they are vague, or because they are incomplete. This can indicate there was no intention to enter a legal relationship. The courts must not rewrite the agreement; they must simply interpret it. If an agreement is incomplete, the courts may decide that the missing terms are implied, and this is more likely if there has been performance. A gap in an incomplete agreement can be filled if the parties have provided a mechanism for doing so, or if the terms can be construed so as to do so. The chapter then differentiates between an agreement to negotiate (a lock-in agreement) and agreements not to negotiate with other parties (lock-out agreements). Agreements between businesses are presumed to be made with the intention to be legally binding, but the facts, the interpretation of the terms, or the surrounding circumstances could mean there was no such intention.