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Chapter

Cover JC Smith's The Law of Contract

10. Third parties  

This chapter considers two principal questions: firstly, may a person who is not a party to a contract acquire rights under it? Secondly, can a contract impose duties on a person who is not a party to it? With some exceptions, the common law answered ‘No’ to both. A contract between A and B cannot be enforced by a third party, C, even if the contract is for the benefit of C. Nor can a contract between A and B impose burdens on C. Following the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 there is now a statutory exception to the principle that C acquires no rights under a contract between A and B. Under this Act, a third party might be able to enforce a term of the contract if the contract expressly provides that they may, or if the relevant term purports to confer a benefit on them.

Chapter

Cover Anson's Law of Contract

23. Agency  

Jack Beatson, Andrew Burrows, and John Cartwright

Agency is the relationship that exists where one person (the principal) authorizes another (the agent) to act on its behalf and the agent agrees to do so. This Chapter discusses the modes of agency creation and the different kinds of agency, and the effect of agency: (a) the relations between the principal and third parties; and (b) the relations between the agent and third parties.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

18. Privity and third parties  

Protecting the rights of non-parties

This chapter examines how English law, through a doctrine known as privity of contract, deals with the problem posed by contracts whose performance involves third parties. According to the doctrine of privity, a contract ordinarily only affects persons who are party to it. Third parties are neither bound by the contract nor entitled to claim rights under the contract. However, the courts and Parliament developed a number of exceptions to the strict rule of privity, each of which gives third parties a right to sue under the contract in a certain type of situation. For example, the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 gives third party beneficiaries a right to enforce contract terms. This chapter first considers the problem of third party rights in contracting before discussing the effects of privity and the provisions of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 in more detail.

Chapter

Cover Equity & Trusts

19. Third Party Liability  

Paul S Davies and Graham Virgo

All books in this flagship series contain carefully selected substantial extracts from key cases, legislation, and academic debate, providing able students with a stand-alone resource. This chapter focuses its discussion on personal claims, where the claimant seeks a sum of money from the defendant but does not assert any right to any particular property. However, even where the defendant is solvent and could satisfy a personal claim, a proprietary claim might often be more desirable. If the property has risen in value, then that uplift in value will necessarily benefit the claimant if the claim is proprietary, but not if the claim is personal. A personal claim for the value of the property at the time of the third party’s wrong might be preferred where the property has fallen in value. Moreover, a personal claim will be the only possible type of claim available to the claimant if the property in question has been dissipated and no longer exists. In such circumstances, a proprietary claim is impossible and a personal claim alone can be pursued.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

4. Privity  

Can a contract alter the rights and liabilities of a third party who is not privy to the contract? This chapter addresses the following questions: (1) Why is the general rule that only contract parties can sue on a contract? (2) What rights of enforcement does the Contract (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 confer on a third party? (3) What is the impact of the 1999 Act on the requirement that a contract claimant must have given consideration? (4) To what extent can a promisee enforce a contract for the benefit of a third party? (5) Aside from the 1999 Act, what legal avenues exist for third parties to enforce promises made for their benefit? (6) When and how does a contract bind third parties?

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

25. Third Parties  

This chapter examines the impact of a contract on third parties. It addresses two main questions: whether or not a third party can acquire any rights under the contract, and whether or not the contract can impose upon him obligations or liabilities. The general rule adopted by English law is that the contract creates rights and imposes obligations only between the parties to the contract: the third party thus neither acquires rights under the contract nor is he subject to liabilities. This general rule is known as the doctrine of privity of contract. The Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999, however, provides a relatively simple mechanism by which contracting parties can confer upon a third party a right to enforce a term of their contract. The dominant philosophy that underpins the 1999 Act is one of freedom of contract and, this being the case, the success of the Act in practice will depend upon contracting parties themselves. The chapter examines the individual sections of the 1999 Act, the exceptions to the doctrine of privity that existed at common law and under various statutes prior to the enactment of the 1999 Act. The chapter concludes by considering the extent to which a third party can be subject to an obligation by a contract to which he is not a party.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law Directions

13. Privity and the interests of third parties  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. This chapter examines the privity rule, which states that only a party to the contract can sue upon it. It discusses the development of the privity rule, distinguishing the privity rule from the consideration rule, evading the privity rule, techniques for giving a right directly to a third party or apparent third party, specific performance in favour of a third party and damages for a third party’s loss, and the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law Directions

13. Privity and the interests of third parties  

Without assuming prior legal knowledge, books in the Directions series introduce and guide readers through key points of law and legal debate. Questions, diagrams and exercises help readers to engage fully with each subject and check their understanding as they progress. This chapter examines the privity rule, which states that only a party to the contract can sue upon it. It discusses the development of the privity rule, distinguishing the privity rule from the consideration rule, evading the privity rule, techniques for giving a right directly to a third party or apparent third party, specific performance in favour of a third party and damages for a third party’s loss, and the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.

Chapter

Cover Pearce & Stevens' Trusts and Equitable Obligations

38. Tracing  

This chapter considers the process of tracing. Tracing describes the process by which the law allows the original owner of property to identify and claim as his or her assets in the hands of a third party. Since tracing and following are proprietary concepts, they can only be used if there was initially, and there remains (in its original or any substituted form), an asset or a property to which claim can be made. Tracing is resorted to most frequently when the trustee is insolvent, so that a personal claim is of limited value. It is easy to forget that in most, if not all, cases of tracing or following, the trustee will have acted in breach of trust and will personally be liable.

Chapter

Cover Complete Equity and Trusts

15. Constructive trusts and fiduciary duty  

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. The chapter looks at the nature of fiduciary duty and how someone becomes a fiduciary. The liability of fiduciaries for breach of trust is considered. Bribery and secret profits are explained, the meaning, nature, and approaches to constructive trusts are studied, and the various circumstances in which constructive trust might emerge are discussed. These include remedial and institutional constructive trusts. The liability of third parties (strangers) in constructive trusts as trustees de son tort, dishonest assisters, and those in knowing receipt are considered. The meanings of ‘knowledge’ and ‘dishonesty’ in this area of the law are explained, as is the level of liability of constructive trustees.

Chapter

Cover Commercial Law

6. Relations between principal and agent  

This chapter discusses the legal relationships that exist between the principal and agent, and, in particular, focuses on the duties that each party owes to the other. The precise scope and content of these duties will depend upon a number of factors, including whether the agency is contractual or gratuitous, whether the agent is acting within the scope of his authority, whether the agent is a specific type of agent upon whom extra duties are placed, and whether the agent is a commercial agent or not. There are legal relationships that can exist between the three parties involved in a typical legal relationship, namely, the relationships between principal and agent, between principal and third party, and between agent and third party. The chapter begins by discussing the duties that an agent owes to his principal.

Chapter

Cover Commercial Law

7. Relations between principal and third party  

This chapter examines the relationship that exists between principal and third party, focusing in particular on the liability that exists between principal and third party, and those instances when they can sue, and be sued by, the other. Liability principally arises in contract and tort, and so these two areas of liability will be discussed, beginning with the contractual liability of the principal and third party. The contractual relationship between the principal and third party, and the extent to which one party can be liable to the other, can be complex and depends upon a number of variables, notably whether the principal is disclosed or undisclosed. In a typical agency relationship an agent will effect a contract between his principal and a third party, after which the agent will ‘drop out’ of the transaction.

Chapter

Cover A Practical Approach to Civil Procedure

20. Additional Claims under Part 20  

This chapter discusses the rules for additional claims under Part 20 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR). An additional claim typically will seek to pass any liability established against the defendant to a third party. This is achieved by seeking indemnities, contributions, or related remedies against the third party. A third party may in turn seek to pass on its liability to a fourth party, and so on. Permission to issue an additional claim is not required if the additional claim is issued before or at the same time as the defendant files its defence. An additional claim operates as a separate claim within the original claim.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Business Law

10. The Law of Agency  

This chapter begins by defining agency—the relationship which exists between the agent and the principal—and considers the legal relationships created between an agent, his principal, and a third party. It then discusses the different methods by which an agency relationship may be created. The chapter explains the extent of an agent’s authority, the power of an agent to bind his principal, and the rights and duties of an agent. The relationship between agent, principal, and third party is explored and the different rules relating to disclosed and undisclosed agencies. Finally, the termination of an agency relationship is considered and examples of different types of agencies highlighted.

Chapter

Cover Sealy and Hooley's Commercial Law

6. Relations with third parties  

D Fox, RJC Munday, B Soyer, AM Tettenborn, and PG Turner

This chapter examines how contracts made by the agent affect the legal relations of the principal with regard to third parties. When considering the rights and liability arising under a contract made by an agent, it is important to draw the distinction between whether the agent was acting for a disclosed or undisclosed principal, the latter being an important feature of English agency law largely unknown to civil lawyers. This chapter discusses generally the relations between principal and third party, and between agent and third party, in the context of both disclosed and undisclosed agency.

Chapter

Cover Legal Ethics

12. Third parties  

This chapter explores how lawyers can balance their obligations to promote their clients’ interests and their obligations to third parties. While there are circumstances in which duties are owed to third parties, these are limited. The law and ethical codes struggle to ensure that, even when these duties are imposed, they are not used to undermine the relationship between lawyer and client. The regulations ensure that the lawyer never acts against the best interests of the client. The chapter explores the guidance issued by the professional codes of practice. It also looks at the practice of giving an undertaking, which is an important aspect of some lawyer’s work.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Tort Law

Mitchell and another v Glasgow City Council [2009] UKHL 11  

Essential Cases: Tort Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Mitchell and another v Glasgow City Council [2009] UKHL 11. The document also included supporting commentary from author Craig Purshouse.

Chapter

Cover Legal Ethics

11. Third parties  

This chapter explores how lawyers can balance their obligations to promote their clients’ interests and their obligations to third parties. While there are circumstances in which duties are owed to third parties, these are limited. The law and ethical codes struggle to ensure that, even when these duties are imposed, they are not used to undermine the relationship between lawyer and client. The regulations ensure that the lawyer never acts against the best interests of the client.

Chapter

Cover Land Law Concentrate

2. The distinction between legal and equitable interests  

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 distinguishes between legal and equitable interests in land. The intervention of equity in land law can be seen in two key areas: the development of new equitable interests in land, and the availability of equitable remedies to enforce interests in land. To be legal, the interest must be listed under s 1(2) Law of Property Act 1925 (LPA 1925) and certain formalities must be met in its creation, notably being granted by deed (s 52 LPA 1925). Where these formalities are not met, the interest may have equitable status instead, but only where equity can find a specifically enforceable valid contract to create the interest. All other interests in land can only ever be equitable (s 1(3) LPA 1925). The status of an interest in land as either legal or equitable traditionally determined the rules of enforcement of that interest against third parties: legal interests bound all third parties, whereas equitable interests would only bind third parties who were not bona fide purchasers for value of a legal estate without notice.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

7. Privity of contract and third party rights  

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 privity of contract, its relationship with consideration, and the ability of third parties to enforce contractual provisions for their benefit. The doctrine of privity of contract provides that the benefits of a contract can be enjoyed only by the parties to that contract and only parties can suffer the burdens of the contract. At common law, third party beneficiaries could not enforce a contractual provision in their favour so various devices were employed seeking to avoid privity. Statute now allows for direct third party enforcement but in limited circumstances. This chapter examines the background to privity and the attempted statutory reform in the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 as it has been interpreted in the case law. The chapter also discusses the common law means of avoiding privity as illustrated by the case law, e.g. agency, collateral contracts, and trusts of contractual obligations. Finally, it assesses the remedies available to the contracting party to recover on behalf of the third party beneficiary of the promise, including the narrow and broad grounds in Linden Gardens Trust. It concludes by briefly considering privity and burdens—and the exceptional situations where a burden can be imposed on a person who is not a party to the contract.