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Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Contract Law

Chappell & Co. Ltd v Nestlé Co. Ltd [1960] AC 87  

Essential Cases: Contract Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Chappell & Co. Ltd v Nestlé Co. Ltd [1960] AC 87. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Nicola Jackson.

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Cover Essential Cases: Contract Law 5e

Chappell & Co. Ltd v Nestlé Co. Ltd [1960] AC 87  

Essential Cases: Contract Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Chappell & Co. Ltd v Nestlé Co. Ltd [1960] AC 87. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Nicola Jackson.

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Cover Cheshire, Fifoot, and Furmston's Law of Contract

4. Consideration  

M P Furmston

This chapter first discusses the function and definition of the doctrine of consideration, a unique feature of the Common Law, and then examines the technical rules that judges have evolved for the application of their doctrine of consideration. Consideration is classified into two categories, executory and executed. The classification reflects the two different ways in which the plaintiff may buy the defendant’s promise. Consideration is called executory when the defendant’s promise is made in return for a counter-promise from the plaintiff, and executed when it is made in return for the performance of an act.

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Cover Business Law Concentrate

2. Contract I: essential features of a contract  

Each Concentrate revision guide is packed with essential information, key cases, revision tips, exam Q&As, and more. Concentrates show you what to expect in a law exam, what examiners are looking for, and how to achieve extra marks. This chapter discusses the essential features of a contract. Offer and acceptance are the first stages in establishing an agreement that may form a legally binding contract. An offer may be accepted at any point until it is terminated. Acceptance can only be made by the offeree or their agent. Consideration is the bargain element of a contract and may be referred to as the ‘price of a promise’. The parties must intend for an agreement to establish legal relations to create an enforceable contract. Presumptions exist in relation to social/domestic agreements and business/commercial agreements.

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Cover Anson's Law of Contract

4. Consideration And Promissory Estoppel  

Jack Beatson, Andrew Burrows, and John Cartwright

This chapter discusses consideration and promissory estoppel. Consideration, a universal requisite of contracts not made by deed, reflects a variety of policies and serves a number of functions. First, enforceability may depend on the content of the promise or the circumstances in which it was made. Second, consideration has been said to identify which promises the parties intend to be legally enforceable. Third, consideration is sometimes seen as a requirement which ensures that a promisor has deliberately decided to contract and prevents parties accidentally binding themselves on impulse. Promissory estoppel is one strand in a broader equitable principle whereby parties to a transaction who have conducted their dealings in reliance on an underlying assumption as to a present, past, or future state of affairs, or on a promise or representation by words or conduct, will not be allowed to go back on that assumption, promise, or representation when it would be unfair or unjust to do so.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

5. Consideration and Promissory Estoppel  

The doctrine of consideration is one feature of English contract law that readily distinguishes it from the law of contract in civilian jurisdictions. Its essence is that a promisee cannot enforce a promise unless he has given or promised to give something in exchange for the promise, or unless the promisor has obtained (or been promised) something in return. In other words, there must have been a bargain between the parties. This chapter analyses the current scope of the doctrine of consideration, particularly the rule that consideration must be sufficient but need not be adequate; the pre-existing duty rule and the question whether a promise to pay, or part payment of a debt, is good consideration for the discharge of the entire deb; and the rule that past consideration is not good consideration. It also examines the role of promissory estoppel in contract cases. An estoppel gives (at least limited) effect to a promise that would otherwise be unenforceable (it may be used as a shield but not a sword), thus the effect of an estoppel may be to supplement, or even supplant, the doctrine of consideration. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the future of the doctrine of consideration and, in particular, draws on the critique of consideration developed by Professor Atiyah.

Chapter

Cover Cheshire, Fifoot, and Furmston's Law of Contract

1. Historical Introduction  

M P Furmston

This chapter discusses the history of English contract law. It covers the medieval law; the origin of assumpsit; assumpsit and debt; the doctrine of consideration; and contract law in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries.

Chapter

Cover Complete Contract Law

5. Consideration and Promissory Estoppel  

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

Cover Contract Law

3. Enforceability: consideration, promissory estoppel, formalities  

Agreement is necessary but not sufficient to trigger legal recognition and thus enforcement. An informal agreement must comprise an exchange in which each party treats her performance (or promise of performance) as the price of the other’s performance (or promise of performance). Absent consideration, English law permits some enforcement, in qualifying circumstances, of promises that induce the promisee’s reliance via the doctrine of promissory estoppel. It also enforces formal promises or agreements. This chapter discusses: (1) the requirements of consideration, promissory estoppel, and formalities; (2) the justification for each test of enforceability; (3) whether the rules and scope of each doctrine are satisfactory, and, if not, how each should each be developed.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Contract Law

Stilk v Myrick [1809] EWHC KB J58; (1809) 2 Camp 317  

Essential Cases: Contract Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Stilk v Myrick [1809] EWHC KB J58; (1809) 2 Camp 317. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Nicola Jackson.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Contract Law 5e

Stilk v Myrick [1809] EWHC KB J58; (1809) 2 Camp 317  

Essential Cases: Contract Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Stilk v Myrick [1809] EWHC KB J58; (1809) 2 Camp 317. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Nicola Jackson.

Chapter

Cover Equity

8. Enforcing Promises  

Celebrated for their conceptual clarity, titles in the Clarendon Law Series offer concise, accessible overviews of major fields of law and legal thought. This chapter examines a range of Equity's incursions into the Common Law of contract. Because of these interventions, the landscape of contract law is broader and more varied than it might otherwise have been. The chapter discusses five different Equitable strategies that give the flavour of Equity's various forms of interference. These are overriding the need to comply with formalities; avoiding privity requirements; re-examining consideration; implying terms; and Equity's ability to anticipate or secure the Common Law outcome.

Chapter

Cover Card & James' Business Law

6. The formation of the contract  

This chapter examines the legal requirements relating to the formation of a contract. It discusses the five essential elements of a contract, namely offer, acceptance (offer and acceptance are collectively referred to as ‘agreement’), certainty, consideration, and the intention to create legal relations. It analyses these individual requirements in detail and considers the courts’ approach in determining whether an enforceable contract is present or not. This chapter also explains the principles of different types of contracts, namely the distinction between bilateral and unilateral contracts, and how the normal rules of contractual formation are modified in the cases involving unilateral contracts.

Chapter

Cover JC Smith's The Law of Contract

7. Consideration and promissory estoppel  

This chapter analyses the issue of consideration in contract law. Contracts are generally binding only if supported by consideration. Consideration can be viewed as ‘the price tag on the promise’: a party must provide something in exchange for the promise in order to be able to enforce that promise. That ‘something’ is called ‘consideration’, and might itself be a promise. The requirement of consideration is demanded by the common law. But, in some situations, equity will allow a promisee to enforce a promise, despite a lack of consideration, through the doctrine of promissory estoppel. Where the promisor makes a clear promise, intended to be binding, intended to be acted upon, and in fact acted upon, the courts will not allow the promisor to act inconsistently with that promise if to do so would be unconscionable.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

3. Consideration  

The requirement of mutuality

This chapter discusses consideration as a requirement for an agreement to be treated as a legally binding contract. Consideration is the price one party pays for the other party’s promise or performance. The doctrine of consideration provides, in essence, that a price of some sort must be paid if an agreement is to be enforceable as a contract. This chapter begins with an analysis of the first requirement imposed by the doctrine of consideration: that the act, forbearance, promise, or commodity given in exchange for the promise should be something of value. It then examines the three different conceptual approaches used in the legal understanding of value based on the idea of economic value, benefit and detriment, and practical benefit. It also describes the ingredients of exchange and includes case in depth boxes that cover the most influential and important cases pertaining to consideration.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

3. Enforceability of promises: consideration and promissory estoppel  

Robert Merkin, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. Under English law, bargains and not gratuitous promises are enforced, thus a promise will not be enforceable if it is not contained in a deed (implying that any promise is taken seriously) or supported by consideration. Consideration refers to an act or a promise given in exchange for the promise (that is, the price for which the other’s promise was bought). The law does not recognize some acts or promises as good consideration, such as past consideration and performance of an existing legal duty. This chapter examines the general requirement in English law to provide consideration in order to enforce a contractual promise. The consideration requirement is relevant not only to the formation of a contract but also to the enforceability of promises altering the terms of an existing contract (alterations). An alteration promise that is not supported by consideration may still have some binding effect on the basis of the doctrine of promissory estoppel.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

3. Enforceability of promises: consideration and promissory estoppel  

Robert Merkin KC, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas of the law curriculum. Under English law, bargains and not gratuitous promises are enforced, thus a promise will not be enforceable if it is not contained in a deed (implying that any promise is taken seriously) or supported by consideration. Consideration refers to an act or a promise given in exchange for the promise (that is, the price for which the other’s promise was bought). The law does not recognize some acts or promises as good consideration, such as past consideration and performance of an existing legal duty. This chapter examines the general requirement in English law to provide consideration in order to enforce a contractual promise. The consideration requirement is relevant not only to the formation of a contract but also to the enforceability of promises altering the terms of an existing contract (alterations). An alteration promise that is not supported by consideration may still have some binding effect on the basis of the doctrine of promissory estoppel.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

3. Enforceability of promises: consideration and promissory estoppel  

Robert Merkin KC, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

Poole’s Casebook on Contract Law provides a comprehensive selection of case law that addresses all aspects of the subject encountered on undergraduate courses. In order to be enforceable, a promise must either be supported by consideration or be expressed in the form of a deed. This stems from the assumption in English contract law that only bargains should be enforced. This chapter examines the enforceability of promises, focusing on consideration and promissory estoppel. The case law has addressed what can constitute consideration and whether a promise can be enforced in the absence of consideration. The chapter focuses particularly on the enforceability of alteration promises, discusses part-payment of a debt, when and how the doctrine of promissory estoppel will operate, and how far the doctrine can be extended.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

3. Enforceability of promises: consideration and promissory estoppel  

Robert Merkin and Séverine Saintier

Poole’s Casebook on Contract Law provides a comprehensive selection of case law that addresses all aspects of the subject encountered on undergraduate courses. In order to be enforceable, a promise must either be supported by consideration or be expressed in the form of a deed. This stems from the assumption in English contract law that only bargains should be enforced. This chapter examines the enforceability of promises, focusing on consideration and promissory estoppel. The case law has addressed what can constitute consideration and whether a promise can be enforced in the absence of consideration. The chapter focuses particularly on the enforceability of alteration promises, discusses part-payment of a debt, when and how the doctrine of promissory estoppel will operate, and how far the doctrine can be extended.

Book

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

Robert Merkin QC and Séverine Saintier

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. This book has been guiding students through contract law for many years. It places the law of contract clearly within its wider context, including the growing distinction between commercial and consumer contracting, before proceeding to provide detailed yet accessible treatment of all the key areas encountered when studying contract law. Part 1 considers formation, looking in detail at agreement, certainty and agreement mistakes, the enforceability of promises and the intention to be legally bound. Part 2 looks at content, interpretation, exemption clauses and unfair terms, performance, and breach. Part 3 considers the enforcement of contractual obligations including remedies, detailed treatment of damages for breach of contract, privity and third party rights, and discharge by frustration. Part 4 looks at methods of policing the making of a contract, such as non-agreement mistakes which render the contract void, misrepresentation, duress, undue influence, unconscionable bargains, and illegality. The book also includes references to relevant EU consumer legislation and introduces students to the various attempts (international and European) to produce a harmonized set of contract principles.