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Chapter

Cover Contract Law

4. Uncertain and Incomplete Agreements  

The parties to agreements sometimes express themselves in terms that are vague, incomplete, or uncertain. The courts have experienced considerable difficulty in deciding whether or not an agreement has been expressed in a form that is sufficiently certain for them to enforce. On the one hand, judges generally do not wish to be seen to be making the contract for the parties, and on the other hand, are reluctant to deny legal effect to an agreement that the parties have apparently accepted as valid and binding. The result has been a degree of tension in the case-law. This chapter examines two groups of cases. The first group consists of cases in which it was held that the agreement was too uncertain or too vague to be enforced, while the second comprises a number of cases in which the courts have concluded that the agreement was valid and binding.

Chapter

Cover Learning Legal Rules

6. How Precedent Operates: Ratio Decidendi and Obiter Dictum  

The aim of this chapter is to emphasise that legal analysis is not just a question of comparing facts or using a set of balancing scales to see if the facts weigh about the same. The situation is often much more complicated than that. This chapter discusses the following: the development of case law and why cases may be distinguished as well as applied on the material facts; defining ratio decidendi; perception and ratio; ratio and interpretation; obiter dictum; how precedents develop; answering legal questions on precedent; material facts; what can happen to a case; the postal rule cases; and the ‘uncertainty principle’ of cases.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

14. Demystifying hate crime in an age of crises  

Neil Chakraborti and Amy Clarke

This chapter examines the extent of hate crimes in the age of crises. It acknowledges how the concept of hate crime is notoriously complex and contested. The continued rise of hate incidents paints a worrying picture of seemingly legitimized hostile and prejudiced attitudes rooted within wider structural inequalities. Even though ne and physical hostility is normalized, legitimized, and politically weaponized, there is a deafening silence from national governments when it comes to addressing the underlying causes of hate crime. The chapter considers the complex realities of perpetration and victimization in an effort to improve responses to hate crime in times of increasing fragility and uncertainty.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Handbook of Criminology

22. White-collar and corporate crime  

Michael Levi and Nicholas Lord

This chapter covers the changing conceptions of crime and social order in correlation with the character and quality of everyday life in contemporary Britain. It presents elements of change that involve notions of durability and persistence. The contemporary landscapes of sources of harm, uncertainty, or tribulation that attend people’s everyday lives are diverse and bear upon different lives and different habitats in very distinct and unequal ways. As measured by victimization surveys and other means, fear of crime always had as its primary object threats to personal safety in public space. The chapter also considers the contentions surrounding the notion of security and public safety.

Book

Cover Pearce & Stevens' Trusts and Equitable Obligations
Pearce & Stevens’ Trusts and Equitable Obligations provides a detailed and contextualized account of the law of equity and trusts. The text gives detailed analysis of all key decisions, statutes, and current academic debates related to the law of equity and trusts, providing a grounding in the subject. This new edition, which includes substantial additions on trusts of the family home, charities, and wills and intestate succession, brings the law coherently together. The text has been updated with recent cases and developments in the area, including Stoffel and Co v Grondona [2020] UKSC 42 on illegality, Manchester Building Society v Grant Thornton UK LLP [2021] UKSC 20 on advisor liability, Webb v Webb [2020] UKPC 22 on beneficial ownership, and Matthew v Sedman [2021] 1 UKSC 19 on the running of time limits in limitation actions.

Chapter

Cover Environmental Law

20. New technologies  

Stuart Bell, Donald McGillivray, Ole W. Pedersen, Emma Lees, and Elen Stokes

This chapter introduces some of the issues surrounding law, environmental protection, and new technologies. Using a series of examples—such as geoengineering, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’)—it examines the relationship between environmental law and technological innovation. First, the chapter asks how well the law governs potential environmental risks posed by new technological development. Secondly, it looks at whether and how environmental law, in its regulation of new technologies, takes account of different forms of knowledge and expertise. Thirdly, it gives insights into the ways in which law can be used to incentivize the design and application of ‘green’ technologies. Finally, building on Ch. 11, it considers the potential environmental liabilities arising from new and emerging technological risks.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

2. Agreement  

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 explains how to determine whether parties have reached an agreement. Traditionally, the existence of agreement is determined objectively on the basis of an offer and corresponding acceptance. However, this approach has been challenged for being artificial and inflexible, and even in the absence of these traditional criteria the courts have occasionally found agreement, particularly where there has been performance. For formation there needs to be an offer (as opposed to an invitation to treat) and that offer must be accepted before it has been rejected or otherwise lapsed. In order to be effective, offer and acceptance must be properly communicated, which normally means ‘received’. The chapter also considers the mirror-image rule, whereby an acceptance must be unconditional and correspond with the exact terms proposed by the offeror. This chapter also examines principles that determine when an agreement can be enforced with sufficient certainty and whether liability will arise in the absence of agreement. An apparent contract will be void if the terms are considered too uncertain or where there is no context for gap filling. But this must be balanced with the need to prevent the parties from using allegations of uncertainty to escape from bad bargains. This chapter therefore considers how the courts deal with the difficult question over agreements to agree.

Chapter

Cover Tort Law

6. Causation, Remoteness, and Scope of Duty: Connection to the Damage  

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 examines the essential connection between the defendant’s breach and the damage suffered by the claimant. It explores the elements of factual and legal causation in relation to the tort of negligence. Drawing on recent decisions including Manchester Building Society v Grant Thornton and Khan v Meadows, it identifies the existence of other aspects of attribution including the necessity for the damage to fall within the scope of the defendant’s duty. The chapter continues by examining some of the most challenging problems of causation, all of which concern multiple potential causes. It considers issues relating to ‘material contribution to damage’, and whether a given breach has materially contributed to the risk of injury. It then discusses the idea of loss of chance as well as the controversy surrounding uncertainty, single agents, and apportionment and non-tortious sources with respect to causation. A number of relevant cases are considered, including Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services Ltd [2002], Barker v Corus [2006], Durham v BAI (the ‘Trigger’ Litigation) [2012], IEG v Zurich (2015), and Gregg v Scott [2005].