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Chapter

Cover A Practical Approach to Alternative Dispute Resolution

17. Reaching a Settlement  

This chapter focuses on key aspects of the final stage of the negotiation or mediation process: reaching a settlement. An agreement reached through mediation or negotiation is essentially a contract. As such, contractual principles will apply, and oral or email exchanges may be binding. To avoid problems, it is important to be clear about process. It is also necessary to check the coverage and detail of a potential settlement fully. A potential agreement may be undermined by a failure to agree detail as the settlement process goes forward, or due to tactics in the final stages. Ultimately, it is very important to finalize the terms of an agreement at the end of the settlement process, perhaps building in terms to assist enforcement or implementation.

Chapter

Cover Complete Contract Law

6. The Terms of the Contract  

This chapter focuses on the terms of the contract. Such terms can be expressed in writing or in oral statements. In addition, some terms can be implied into a contract by legislation or the courts. As a result, contracts can be in the form of a written document, an oral agreement, or even a combination of written terms and oral statements and all three can contain implied terms. The chapter then looks at how terms can be implied into contracts. It also explores the law on express terms. In the context of what has been agreed, there are two main types of dispute. One type of dispute relates to the existence of a term that a party claims has been breached. The other type of dispute over what has been agreed relates to the meaning of the terms. In such cases, the meaning of the disputed term will determine whether it has been breached. That requires the courts to interpret the term to reflect the parties’ apparent intentions.

Chapter

Cover A Practical Approach to Alternative Dispute Resolution

23. Recording Settlement  

This chapter explores the process of recording a settlement, which is the final part of the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process. It is essential that all the issues between the parties are covered in a settlement agreement. If particular issues are deliberately left out of the agreement, or are left for further agreement, this should be made clear. The normal rules of contract law must also be adhered to, or the settlement will not be binding. While oral agreements are usually binding, the risk of misunderstandings means that it is invariably best practice to record the agreement in writing. The chapter then looks at the different methods of recording settlement agreements, including exchange of letters, contract or deed, interim order, consent order, and Tomlin order. Ultimately, when drawing up the agreement, it is important not to overlook how any existing proceedings are to be dealt with and on how the costs are to be paid.

Chapter

Cover International Law

7. The law of treaties  

This chapter describes the law of treaties. As defined in Article 2(2) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT), a treaty can be embodied in a single instrument, or in two or more related instruments. It is a written agreement; between international legal subjects; and governed by international law. In short, a treaty must be written in order to fall under the scope of the VCLT. Although this does not mean that oral agreements have no effect in international law, it does mean that the law of treaties embodied in the VCLT does not govern oral agreements. While States are the most active actors entering into treaty relations, international organizations may also enter into treaties, whether between themselves or with a State. Ultimately, because a treaty’s purpose is to create binding international legal obligations, the law of treaties applies to agreements governed by international law.

Chapter

Cover Complete Equity and Trusts

17. Trusts of the family home  

Titles in the Complete series combine extracts from a wide range of primary materials with clear explanatory text to provide readers with a complete introductory resource. Cohabiting couples could save themselves considerable legal trouble and expense if they make a written declaration of trust when acquiring a home to live in, but most do not. This chapter discusses the following: that cohabitation gives no special legal status; that a trust of land must be in writing; and that resulting and constructive trusts are an exception to the writing requirement. It also looks at the difference between the two categories of trust in Lloyds Bank v Rosset and the difference between the claim to an equitable interest in the property and the quantification of that interest as explained in Stack v Dowden.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

5. Content of the contract and principles of interpretation  

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. This chapter explores how the terms of the parties’ agreement (that is, the contractual promise to be performed) are identified and how the courts interpret the meaning of those terms. It considers the status of statements made prior to the conclusion of the contract (as terms or representations) and why this matters. The parol evidence rule applies where the contract is written and provides that the writing represents the entire contract. This definition is flawed, however, because it allows the rule to be sidestepped by defining the contract as partly written and partly oral. Alternatively, an oral term can take effect as a collateral contract, which is separate to any written contract to which the parol evidence rule applies. The effect of the parol evidence rules can be achieved by incorporating an entire agreement clause. This chapter also considers the effect and impact of a no oral modification clause (or NOM). This chapter examines methods of achieving incorporation of terms such as signature, reasonable notice (or a higher standard of notice if the term is onerous or unusual), consistent course of dealing and common knowledge of the parties. In addition to the express terms, there may be terms implied by custom, by courts or by statute. Finally, the chapter considers the principles on which contracts are interpreted including the relevance, or otherwise, of pre-contractual negotiations.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

5. Content of the contract and principles of interpretation  

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. This chapter explores how the terms of the parties’ agreement (that is, the contractual promise to be performed) are identified and how the courts interpret the meaning of those terms. It considers the status of statements made prior to the conclusion of the contract (as terms or representations) and why this matters. The parol evidence rule applies where the contract is written and provides that the writing represents the entire contract. This definition is flawed, however, because it allows the rule to be sidestepped by defining the contract as partly written and partly oral. Alternatively, an oral term can take effect as a collateral contract, which is separate to any written contract to which the parol evidence rule applies. The effect of the parol evidence rules can be achieved by incorporating an entire agreement clause. This chapter also considers the effect and impact of a no oral modification clause (or NOM). This chapter examines methods of achieving incorporation of terms such as signature, reasonable notice (or a higher standard of notice if the term is onerous or unusual), consistent course of dealing and common knowledge of the parties. In addition to the express terms, there may be terms implied by custom, by courts or by statute. Finally, the chapter considers the principles on which contracts are interpreted including the relevance, or otherwise, of pre-contractual negotiations.

Chapter

Cover Legal Systems & Skills

12. Negotiation and mediation  

Scott Slorach, Judith Embley, Peter Goodchild, and Catherine Shephard

This chapter provides guidance as to how to conduct a negotiation and a mediation, and explains the difference between the two. It explains how, why, and when a law student might require these skills, and how to further develop the skills for professional practice. Advice is given about how to prepare a negotiation plan.