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Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

6. Exemption clauses and unfair contract terms  

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. This chapter deals with exemption clauses and unfair contract terms. An exemption clause is a term in a contract or notice that can be either an exclusion clause (excluding liability or remedies) or a limitation clause (limiting liability to a specified sum). The chapter primarily focuses on the requirements that must be satisfied before an exemption clause can be relied upon, the question of construction and the natural and ordinary meaning of the clause, contra proferentem, liability for negligence, limitation clauses, inconsistent terms, and fundamental breach. It then examines the legislative regulation of exemption clauses, emphasizing the growing distinction between commercial and consumer contracts in this context. It considers in some depth the enforceability of exemption clauses in a B2B context in accordance with the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and its interpretation in case law. In the B2C context, it discusses control of unfair terms in accordance with Part 2 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the case law interpreting the previous legislative regulation of unfair terms.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

6. Exemption clauses and unfair contract terms  

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. This chapter deals with exemption clauses and unfair contract terms. An exemption clause is a term in a contract or notice that can be either an exclusion clause (excluding liability or remedies) or a limitation clause (limiting liability to a specified sum). The chapter primarily focuses on the requirements that must be satisfied before an exemption clause can be relied upon, the question of construction and the natural and ordinary meaning of the clause, contra proferentem, liability for negligence, limitation clauses, inconsistent terms, and fundamental breach. It then examines the legislative regulation of exemption clauses, emphasizing the growing distinction between commercial and consumer contracts in this context. It considers in some depth the enforceability of exemption clauses in a B2B context in accordance with the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and its interpretation in case law. In the B2C context, it discusses control of unfair terms in accordance with Part 2 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the case law interpreting the previous legislative regulation of unfair terms.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

6. Exemption clauses and unfair contract terms  

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. A clause which seeks either to exclude a party’s liability for breach or to limit that liability to a specified amount is known as an exemption clause. It is also possible for exemption clauses to seek to exclude or limit the remedies which would otherwise be available for breach or seek to deny that any breach of contract or breach of a duty of care has occurred. Although such clauses can allocate risks between the parties and prevent duplicate insurance cover, both the courts and the Parliament in the UK have sought to control their use. An exemption clause is enforceable if the clause in question is incorporated as a term, covers the loss that has occurred in the circumstances in which it arose, and is not rendered unenforceable by either the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 (B2B contracts) or Part 2 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (B2C contracts). This chapter examines the construction of exemption clauses as well as the legislative regulation of exemption clauses and, in the consumer context, unfair terms.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

6. Exemption clauses and unfair contract terms  

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. A clause which seeks either to exclude a party’s liability for breach or to limit that liability to a specified amount is known as an exemption clause. It is also possible for exemption clauses to seek to exclude or limit the remedies which would otherwise be available for breach or seek to deny that any breach of contract or breach of a duty of care has occurred. Although such clauses can allocate risks between the parties and prevent duplicate insurance cover, both the courts and the Parliament in the UK have sought to control their use. An exemption clause is enforceable if the clause in question is incorporated as a term, covers the loss that has occurred in the circumstances in which it arose, and is not rendered unenforceable by either the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 (B2B contracts) or Part 2 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (B2C contracts). This chapter examines the construction of exemption clauses as well as the legislative regulation of exemption clauses and, in the consumer context, unfair terms.