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Cover Contract Law

1. Introduction  

This introductory chapter begins by setting out the book’s three principal aims: to provide an exposition of the rules that make up the law of contract, to explore the law of contract in its transactional context, and to explore English contract law from a transnational and comparative perspective. The discussions then turn to the scope of the law of contracts; the growth in the use of standard form contracts and the increasing complexity of the form and the content of modern contracts; transnational contract law; and conflicting policies that underpin the law of contract.


Cover Contract Law

10. Identifying and interpreting contractual terms  

This chapter examines how the contract terms that bind the parties are identified and interpreted. It also considers the special problems arising from standard form contracts. We will see how words or conduct that generate expectations are classified into terms within the contract or mere representations outside the contract, with very different remedial consequences; how express terms can be augmented by implied terms and collateral terms; how terms that are often unread (eg in standard form contracts) are made enforceable by signature, reasonable notice, previous dealing, or custom; how terms are interpreted; and, in particular, how troublesome clauses that exclude or limit liability are interpreted.


Cover Anson's Law of Contract

6. Exemption Clauses and Unfair Terms  

Jack Beatson, Andrew Burrows, and John Cartwright

This chapter discusses the common law and statutory rules governing exemption clauses, and the control of unfair terms. Written contracts frequently contain clauses excluding or limiting liability. This is particularly so in the case of ‘standard form’ documents drawn up by one of the parties or a trade association to which one of the parties belong. At common law there are special rules on the incorporation of exemption clauses, special rules of construction applicable to them, and a few miscellaneous other common law rules designed to control them. The chapter first considers those common law rules before going on to the legislative control of exemption clauses and unfair terms. The focus of the discussion of statutory control is the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 for non-consumer contracts, and the Consumer Rights Act 2015 for consumer contracts.


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

2. Some Factors Affecting Modern Contract Law  

M P Furmston

This chapter discusses factors affecting contract law which will be met in the rest of this book. It can usefully be read both at the beginning and the end of the book. These include continental influence in the nineteenth century; the influence of economic theory; inequality of bargaining power; the use of standard form contracts; consumer protection; the relationship between standard form contracts, inequality of bargaining power, and consumer protection; contractual behaviour; the interrelationship of contract and tort; good faith in contract law; the globalization of contract law; and the Human Rights Act 1998.


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.