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Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Contract Law

L’Estrange v Graucob Ltd [1934] 2 KB 394  

Essential Cases: Contract Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in L’Estrange v Graucob Ltd [1934] 2 KB 394. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Nicola Jackson.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Contract Law 5e

L’Estrange v Graucob Ltd [1934] 2 KB 394  

Essential Cases: Contract Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in L’Estrange v Graucob Ltd [1934] 2 KB 394. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Nicola Jackson.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

9. Incorporation of Terms  

This chapter discusses the incorporation of terms into a contract. Three principal options are available to ensure the incorporation of terms, the first of which is to make sure that the other party to the contract signs the document that contains all the relevant terms. A party is generally bound by terms he has signed, whether or not he has read them. The second option is to take reasonable steps to bring the terms to the notice of the other party. In order to be effective the notice must have been given at or before the time of contracting, in a document that was intended to have contractual effect, and reasonable steps must have been taken to bring the terms to the attention of the other party. The third option is incorporation by course of dealing or by custom. In order to constitute a ‘course of dealing’ there must have been a series of transactions between the parties that was both ‘consistent’ and ‘regular’.

Chapter

Cover Information Technology Law

16. Electronic contracts  

This chapter examines contracts in electronic commerce and their implications for the traditional contract law and the law relating to payment and payment methods. It first looks at the rules for the formation of informal electronic contracts and the regulation of offer and acceptance, focusing on Articles 9–11 of the European Union’s Electronic Commerce Directive. The chapter then considers the question of when acceptance is effectively communicated to the offeror, the terms of the contract, and their enforcement as well as evaluating formal contracts and discussing their formation and terms. A focus for this chapter is the evolving laws on electronic signatures, the role of qualified trust service providers and how electronic signatures are formalized. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the evolving area of smart contracts: their design, formation and what the role of the law is in relation to these self-enforcing agreements through an analysis of the Law Commission Report Smart Legal Contracts.

Chapter

Cover International Law Concentrate

3. The law of treaties  

This chapter examines the rules of international law governing the birth, the life, and the death of treaties. Treaties, a formal source of international law, are agreements in written form between States or international organizations that are subject to international law. A treaty falls under the definition of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT), no matter what form or title it may have. The most important factor is that it sets out obligations or entitlements under international law. The VCLT enumerates the rules governing the ‘birth’, ie the steps from the negotiation until the entry into force of the treaty; the ‘life’, ie the interpretation and application of the treaty; and its ‘demise’, ie its termination. The two fundamental tenets are, on the one hand, the principle ‘pacta sunt servanda’ and, on the other, the principle of contractual freedom of the parties.

Chapter

Cover Information Technology Law

16. Electronic contracts  

This chapter examines contracts in electronic commerce and their implications for the traditional contract law and the law relating to payment and payment methods. It first looks at the rules for the formation of informal electronic contracts and the regulation of offer and acceptance, focusing on Articles 9–11 of the European Union’s Electronic Commerce Directive. The chapter then considers the question of when acceptance is effectively communicated to the offeror, the terms of the contract, and their enforcement as well as evaluating formal contracts and discussing their formation and terms. A focus for this chapter is the evolving laws on electronic signatures, the role of qualified trust service providers and how electronic signatures are formalized. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the evolving area of smart contracts: their design, formation, and what the role of the law is in relation to these self-enforcing agreements.

Chapter

Cover Cross & Tapper on Evidence

XV. Documentary evidence  

This chapter deals with documentary evidence. It first discusses the authentication of documents, by looking at proof under the new provisions of statements in documents generally; proof of business, and public, records; procedure under the Civil Procedure Rules; and some special considerations applying to public documents and to bankers' books. Next, the chapter turns to the proof of the execution of private documents. Here, the chapter considers the proof of handwriting and attestation, alongside the special provision permitting the use of electronic signatures. Finally, this chapter concerns whether, once a transaction has been embodied in a document, evidence may be given of terms other than those it mentions, and, second, the extent to which evidence may be given of the meaning of the terms used in the document.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

5. Content of the contract and principles of interpretation  

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 examines what the parties to a contract have undertaken to do; that is, the terms of the contract, and the principles determining how the courts interpret the meaning of those contractual terms. It considers whether pre-contractual statements are terms or mere representations. The chapter then turns to written contracts, focusing on the parol evidence rule, entire agreement clauses, and the effect of signature on the contractual document. It also discusses oral contracts and incorporation of written terms in such contracts by means of signature, reasonable notice, consistent course of dealing, and common knowledge of the parties. In addition to express terms, this chapter looks at how terms are implied, particularly terms implied by the courts—terms implied in law and terms implied in fact. There is discussion of the typical implied terms in sale and supply contracts in the B2B and B2C context. Finally, this chapter focuses on the principles governing the interpretation of contractual terms.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

4. Intention to be legally bound, formalities, and capacity to contract  

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 examines the requirement that there must be an intention to create legal relations and specific requirements of form, such as writing, for an agreement to be enforceable as a legally binding contract. Traditionally, this intention to create legal relations is determined objectively using two presumptions that can be rebutted on the evidence. First, it is presumed that there was no intention to be legally bound in the context of social or domestic agreements. Secondly, it is presumed that the parties to commercial agreements intended to be legally bound unless there are clear words indicating the opposite, such as the existence of an honour clause. In addition, some contracts require particular formalities to be binding. The chapter outlines some examples of these and discusses the consequences of non-compliance with the formality requirements. It also considers the capacity rules in contract (i.e. a party’s ability in law to contract) and the effect of incapacity on a contract, focusing on contracts made by minors (persons below 18 years old). The chapter concludes by discussing electronic signatures and the implications of e-commerce for formality requirements in contracts.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

4. Intention to be legally bound, formalities, and capacity to contract  

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 examines the requirement that there must be an intention to create legal relations and specific requirements of form, such as writing, for an agreement to be enforceable as a legally binding contract. Traditionally, this intention to create legal relations is determined objectively using two presumptions that can be rebutted on the evidence. First, it is presumed that there was no intention to be legally bound in the context of social or domestic agreements. Secondly, it is presumed that the parties to commercial agreements intended to be legally bound unless there are clear words indicating the opposite, such as the existence of an honour clause. In addition, some contracts require particular formalities to be binding. The chapter outlines some examples of these and discusses the consequences of non-compliance with the formality requirements. It also considers the capacity rules in contract (i.e. a party’s ability in law to contract) and the effect of incapacity on a contract, focusing on contracts made by minors (persons below 18 years old). The chapter concludes by discussing electronic signatures and the implications of e-commerce for formality requirements in contracts.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

5. Content of the contract and principles of interpretation  

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 examines what the parties to a contract have undertaken to do; that is, the terms of the contract, and the principles determining how the courts interpret the meaning of those contractual terms. It considers whether pre-contractual statements are terms or mere representations. The chapter then turns to written contracts, focusing on the parol evidence rule, entire agreement clauses, and the effect of signature on the contractual document. It also discusses oral contracts and incorporation of written terms in such contracts by means of signature, reasonable notice, consistent course of dealing, and common knowledge of the parties. In addition to express terms, this chapter looks at how terms are implied, particularly terms implied by the courts—terms implied in law and terms implied in fact. There is discussion of the typical implied terms in sale and supply contracts in the B2B and B2C context. Finally, this chapter focuses on the principles governing the interpretation of contractual terms.

Chapter

Cover Koffman, Macdonald & Atkins' Law of Contract

9. Exemption clauses  

This chapter begins the discussion of unfair terms. It deals with the common law rules relating to exemption clauses, and introduces the problems, as well as the benefits of standard form contracts. It looks at the common law rules dealing with incorporation and construction (interpretation) generally, and their use by the courts to deal with unfair exemption clauses, and the evolution of the use of such approaches in the light of legislative policing. In particular, it deals with incorporation by signature, notice (including the ‘red hand’ rule), and a course of dealing. It looks at construction post-UCTA (Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977), and post-Investors, particularly Wood v Capita and decisions since. The Canada Steamship rules and the distinction between limitation and exclusion clauses are noted. The tension between freedom of contract and protecting the party with weaker bargaining power is emphasized. The chapter addresses how the Consumer Rights Act 2015 has impacted the law.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

15. Remedies providing for specific relief and restitutionary remedies  

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. Equitable remedies that provide for specific relief refer to remedies for breach of contract which compel actual performance, rather than simply compensating for loss caused by breach. Compulsion of performance may take the form of claiming an agreed sum, a claim seeking specific performance, or a claim seeking an injunction. The claim or action for an agreed sum gives effect to the claimant’s performance interest by ordering the party in breach to pay the liquidated sum (debt), his agreed performance under the contract. The chapter examines the remedy of specific performance as a court order that compels actual performance of agreed obligations (other than payment of the price). As an equitable remedy it is available at the discretion of the court, but only when damages would be an inadequate remedy. This chapter also examines remedies providing for specific relief and restitutionary remedies, the latter of which refer to recovery based on failure of consideration and quantum meruit. Finally, the chapter examines the availability of specific compensatory remedies in instances where there is no financial loss, namely the exceptional remedy of an account of profit or the remedy of ‘negotiating damages’—and their relationship.

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.