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Cover Cheshire, Fifoot, and Furmston's Law of Contract
Cheshire, Fifoot & Furmston’s Law of Contract is a classic text on contract law. The first edition was published over seventy years ago. The book combines an account of the principles of the law of contract with analysis and insights, and the narrative brings understanding of complex contractual issues to a wider readership. It starts by providing a historic introduction, and goes on to look at issues such as modern contract law, agreement, consideration, and legal relations. The book details the contents of the contract and looks at unenforceable contracts, mistake, misrepresentation, duress, and undue influence. Chapters then examine contracts rendered void under statute, contracts illegal by statute or at common law, and contracts void at common law due to public policy. The text moves on to look at privity, rights and liabilities, performance and breach, and discharge under the doctrine of frustration. Finally, the book looks at remedies for breach of contract.

Chapter

Cover Anson's Law of Contract

20. Limitation of Actions  

Jack Beatson, Andrew Burrows, and John Cartwright

At common law, lapse of time does not affect contractual rights. But it is the policy of the law to discourage stale claims because, after a long period, a defendant may not have the evidence to rebut such claims and should be in a position to know that after a given time an incident which might have led to a claim is finally closed. Accordingly, in the Limitation Act 1980, the Legislature has laid down certain periods of limitation after the expiry of which no action can be maintained. Equity has developed a doctrine of laches, under which a claimant who has not shown reasonable diligence in prosecuting the claim may be barred from equitable relief.

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Cover Anson's Law of Contract

21. Third Parties  

Jack Beatson, Andrew Burrows, and John Cartwright

This Chapter deals with the scope of a valid contract when formed, and the question: to whom does the obligation extend? This question is considered under two separate headings: (1) the acquisition of rights by a third party, and (2) the imposition of liabilities upon a third party. At common law the general rule is that no one but the parties to a contract can be entitled under it, or bound by it. This principle is known as that of privity of contract.

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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.

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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.

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Cover O'Sullivan & Hilliard's The Law of Contract

13. Common mistake and rectification  

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter examines the situation where both parties to a contract share a common mistake. It analyses several court cases indicating that certain sorts of mistake can render contracts void at the level of common law. It discusses the orthodox approach which asserts that there is a separate legal doctrine whereby certain sorts of common mistakes inevitably render a contract void; it also considers an alternative way of conceptualising common mistake cases, the construction approach, which argues that the effect of common mistake is ascertained by construing and interpreting the contract. This chapter also considers the scope of the equitable remedy of rectification for common and unilateral mistake, which gives the court the jurisdiction, in exceptional cases, to correct transcription mistakes in the parties’ written contractual document.

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Cover JC Smith's The Law of Contract

14. Rectification  

Rectification is an equitable remedy through which the court can rectify, or correct, a mistake in a written contract. This chapter examines two principal forms of rectification: common mistake rectification and unilateral mistake rectification. Rectification for common mistake arises where both parties make the same mistake. This is the better-established form of rectification. However, in some circumstances rectification for unilateral mistake will be granted in situations where only one party is mistaken but the other party has acted unconscionably or dishonestly. A party seeking rectification will need convincing proof that a mistake has been made before the court will contemplate altering the language chosen in a formal, written document.

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Cover O'Sullivan & Hilliard's The Law of Contract

14. Frustration  

Titles in the Core Text series take the reader straight to the heart of the subject, providing focused, concise, and reliable guides for students at all levels. This chapter examines the doctrine of frustration, which can only be invoked where the parties have not allocated the risk of the relevant event in their bargain, such as by means of a force majeure clause. It explains that issues of frustration arise where circumstances change radically after the contract has been entered into, which show that an assumption held by both parties at the time of contracting no longer applies. It analyses the effects of frustration at common law and discusses the current test for frustration, as evidenced in emerging case law from the Covid-19 pandemic. This chapter also considers the provisions of the Law Reform (Frustrated Contracts) Act 1943.

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Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Contract Law

13. Privity of Contract  

The Concentrate Questions and Answers series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions. Each book includes typical questions, answer plans and suggested answers, author commentary, and other features. This chapter explores the privity of contract. Traditionally the doctrine of privity of contract regards contract as based upon agreement and consequently only the parties to that agreement can enforce it. This chapter discusses common law limitations to the doctrine of privity; common law attempts to evade privity; and statutory developments. It covers the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999, including the freedom given to the contracting parties to exclude the provisions of the Act, or to set out procedures for post-contractual variation of arrangements that avoid the need to obtain the third party’s consent.

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Cover Complete Contract Law

1. Introduction to the Study of Contract Law  

This introductory chapter provides an overview of contract law and its application. A contract is an agreement made with intention that it will be legally enforceable. Contract law concerns issues regarding the formation of contracts; the sources, interpretation, and regulation of terms; when a breach takes place and the resulting consequences; and ways to escape a contract through vitiating factors, mistake, or frustration. The parties’ intentions are determined using an objective approach based on the standard of the reasonable person. A lot of contract law can be understood as default rules to apply when the parties have not been clear enough about their intentions. The law of contract also concerns foundational principles and mainly consists of common law rules. Many cases still give effect to the values of the classical model, which is based on the freedom and sanctity of contract, and a view that contracting parties are self-interested. The most significant recent development away from the classical model is the recognition of relational contracts and an implied obligation to act in good faith.

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Cover Complete Contract Law

12. Third Party Rights (the Doctrine of Privity)  

This chapter highlights the doctrine of privity of contract; that means it is about the rights and obligations of third parties. The starting point is the basic common law rule of privity. At common law, third parties have no general right to enforce contracts made by others. Likewise, contracts made by others cannot impose obligations on third parties. This is a fairly straightforward principle and is based on sound reasons, but in practice privity has become a complex area. The existence of the rule resulted in a range of clever devices being developed to get around it, all of which are of commercial importance. And the rule against parties enforcing contracts made by others in particular was also severely criticized over the years for various reasons. The basis for such criticism resulted in some partial exceptions being developed in the case law, and ultimately in a statute—namely the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999. This complicates matters further because the Act only applies in certain circumstances and its application can be excluded by the terms of the contract. As such, there will be circumstances in which the common law exceptions and devices remain relevant, and they must therefore be studied alongside it.

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Cover JC Smith's The Law of Contract

15. Exclusion clauses and unfair terms  

This chapter analyses the law on exclusion clauses and unfair terms. Exclusion clauses are terms which exclude or limit a defendant’s liability. The enactment of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015 has reduced the importance of common law techniques for avoiding the worst effects of exclusion clauses. Both statutes enable the courts to control the substance of the contract. The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 only applies to non-consumer contracts. It empowers a court not to enforce exclusion clauses where they are unreasonable. Unlike the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 is not limited to exclusion clauses. A term will be unfair if, ‘contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations under the contract to the detriment of the consumer’.

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Cover Contract Law

16. Mistake  

This chapter examines the effects of a mistake on the validity of a contract. A mistake may prevent parties from reaching agreement. First, a court may decide that no contract has been concluded where one party knows that the other is labouring under a mistake in relation to the terms of the agreement and fails to inform that other party of the mistake. Secondly, it may conclude that the terms of the offer and acceptance suffer from a latent ambiguity such that the parties cannot be said to have reached agreement. The third case in which a mistake may prevent the formation of a contract is where there has been a mistake as to the identity of the party who is said to be a party to the contract. The discussion then turns to the leading cases on common mistake, mistake in equity, and rectification. The chapter concludes by considering the non est factum defence, which can be invoked by someone who, through no fault of his own, has no understanding of the document that he has signed.

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Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Contract Law

8. Mistake  

The Concentrate Questions and Answers series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions. Each book includes typical questions, answer plans and suggested answers, author commentary, and other features. This chapter discusses the three broad classifications of mistake: common, mutual and unilateral. In common mistake (sometimes confusingly referred to as mutual mistake) both parties share the same mistake about a fundamental fact of the contract. With mutual mistake the parties are at cross-purposes but neither realizes it. In unilateral mistake only one of the parties is mistaken and the other party either knows of the mistake or possibly is deemed to know.

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Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Contract Law

5. Exemption Clauses and Unfair Terms  

The Concentrate Questions and Answers series offers the best preparation for tackling exam questions. Each book includes typical questions, answer plans and suggested answers, author commentary, and other features. This chapter focuses on the regulation of exclusion/exemption clauses and other potentially unfair terms. It discusses both common law (such as approaches to incorporation and interpretation) and statutory regulation (such as the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015). It also explores two key debates: the nature of an exemption clause, and the tension between freedom of contract and judicial and statutory intervention in the context of exemption clauses.

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Cover Complete Contract Law

13. Misrepresentation  

This chapter explains the law relating to the requirements and remedies for misrepresentation. The rules that the chapter covers developed originally in the context of all types of contracts. However, more recent legislation has introduced some specific protection for consumers. Consequently, the common law rules and older legislation that the chapter covers are now more applicable to non-consumer contracts, i.e. contracts between businesses and those between private parties. The chapter starts by addressing the kind of false statements that can result in a remedy. It then addresses the common law and legislative remedies that could be available to the innocent party. Finally, the chapter turns to the impact of the more recent consumer legislation before finally examining the extent to which an exemption clause could cover liability for misrepresentation.

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Cover Complete Contract Law

7. Exemption Clauses and Unfair Terms  

This chapter assesses exemption clauses and unfair terms. Exemption clauses are terms that either exclude or limit the liability of a party. The law relating to the use of such clauses is a mixture of rules found in both the common law and legislation; the common law rules apply to all contracts. In addition, the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 applies to the use of exemption clauses in contracts between two businesses. For consumers, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 provides wider protection from unfair terms including exemption clauses. The practical context of exemption clauses is simple. One party will be in breach and so the other will seek compensation for the loss caused by the breach. The party in breach will then defend the action by relying on an exemption clause. The dispute is then about whether or not the clause can be relied upon. The circumstances in which terms might be assessed for being ‘unfair’ can be wider than this. Typically, a business will take action against a consumer following the consumer’s failure to perform an obligation, which will then prompt the consumer to challenge the obligation as based on an unfair term.

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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.

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Cover Contract Law Concentrate

8. Contractual impossibility and risk: frustration and common mistake  

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 examines the law’s response to events that render performance of the contract impossible for reasons beyond the control of the contracting parties, and so provide an excuse for non-performance. The default legal doctrines—common mistake (initial impossibility) and frustration (subsequent impossibility)—may come into play in instances of impossibility of performance only where there is no express or implied allocation of the risk of the event in the contract. These default doctrines determine what is to happen to the existing and future obligations of the parties.