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Chapter

Cover Anson's Law of Contract

22. Assignment  

Jack Beatson, Andrew Burrows, and John Cartwright

This Chapter considers assignment, that is to say, the transfer of B’s contractual rights against A to C by means of an agreement between B (the assignor) and C (the assignee) irrespective of A’s (the debtor’s) consent. It examines the rules governing assignment and distinguishes it from several similar concepts: the negotiability of ‘negotiable instruments’, vicarious performance, novation, and the transfer of rights and liabilities by operation of law.

Book

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

Robert Merkin QC and Séverine Saintier

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. This book has been guiding students through contract law for many years. It places the law of contract clearly within its wider context, including the growing distinction between commercial and consumer contracting, before proceeding to provide detailed yet accessible treatment of all the key areas encountered when studying contract law. Part 1 considers formation, looking in detail at agreement, certainty and agreement mistakes, the enforceability of promises and the intention to be legally bound. Part 2 looks at content, interpretation, exemption clauses and unfair terms, performance, and breach. Part 3 considers the enforcement of contractual obligations including remedies, detailed treatment of damages for breach of contract, privity and third party rights, and discharge by frustration. Part 4 looks at methods of policing the making of a contract, such as non-agreement mistakes which render the contract void, misrepresentation, duress, undue influence, unconscionable bargains, and illegality. The book also includes references to relevant EU consumer legislation and introduces students to the various attempts (international and European) to produce a harmonized set of contract principles.

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.

Chapter

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.

Chapter

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.

Book

Cover JC Smith's The Law of Contract
Driven by exposition of the leading cases, JC Smith’s The Law of Contract offers the perfect balance between accessibility and authority. The strong focus on cases guides the reader through the intricacies of contract law with expert analysis ensuring key points are clear. The text begins with an introduction to contractual rights and duties. It looks at objectivity in contract law, the formation of bilateral and unilateral contracts, contract as agreement, offeror and offeree, estoppel, legal relations, and the role of third parties. It also considers the terms of the contract, interpretation of the contract, implication and rectification, and exclusion clauses and unfair terms. It goes on to look at issues such as duress, undue influence, good faith, capacity, illegality, contractual assumptions, breach of contract, remedies and damages, and remedies beyond compensatory damages.

Book

Cover Contract Law
Contract Law: Text, Cases, and Materials provides a complete guide to the subject of contract law. The book comprises a balance of 60 per cent text to 40 per cent cases and materials. Its clear explanations and analyses of the law provide support to students, while the extracts from cases and materials promote the development of essential case reading skills and allow for a more detailed appreciation of the practical workings of the law and of the best legal scholarship. Part I of the book examines the rules relating to the existence of an agreement (particularly offer and acceptance, uncertain and incomplete agreements, and consideration and promissory estoppel). Part II covers the terms of the contract, including implied terms, interpretation, boilerplate clauses, exclusion clauses, unfair terms in consumer contracts, and good faith. Part III examines topics such as mistake, misrepresentation, duress, undue influence, unconscionability, inequality of bargaining power, and frustration and force majeure. Part IV turns to breaches of contract and termination, damages, and specific performance. The last part, Part V, concentrates on third parties.

Chapter

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

16. The Voluntary Assignment of Contractual Rights and Liabilities  

M P Furmston

This chapter discusses the assignment of contractual rights and liabilities. It covers the assignability of contractual rights; rules that govern assignments, whether statutory or equitable; novation distinguished from assignment; and negotiability distinguished from assignability.

Chapter

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

17. The Involuntary Assignment of Contractual Rights and Liabilities  

M P Furmston

This chapter discusses the law on the automatic assignment of contractual rights and liabilities, which may occur upon the death or bankruptcy of one of the contracting parties.

Chapter

Cover Koffman, Macdonald & Atkins' Law of Contract

5. Promissory estoppel  

This chapter explores the doctrine of promissory estoppel and the case of Central London Property Trust Ltd v High Trees House Ltd. Denning J’s judgment in that case envisioned its application in the part payment of a debt situation to provide a means of preventing the promisor reneging on his or her promise not to seek the whole of the debt. It looks at English law’s restriction of promissory estoppel to preventing promisors going back on promises not to enforce rights, rather than creating new obligations. The considerable uncertainty surrounding the doctrine is explored (e.g. in relation to the extent to which it extinguishes rights, rather than merely suspending them, and what is required to trigger the estoppel (detrimental reliance on the promise or it being inequitable to go back on it)).

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

1. Introduction  

This introductory chapter presents an overview of contract law. It discusses the definition of a contract; the problems arising in the life of a contract that must be addressed by contract law; the common law, statutory, and international sources of contract law; the nature of legal reasoning; the pluralistic values reflected in contract law that introduce tensions; the main theories on why contracts should be enforced; the reach of contract law and where contract law does not apply; contract law’s relationship to other branches of private law tort, property, and unjust enrichment; and the external influences on English contract law.

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 Contract Law

1. Introduction  

This introduction provides an overview of contracts and the law of contract. It first explains what the law of contract is about and why it matters before discussing the tasks of contract law. It then considers the role of debates in contract law, unity and diversity in contract law, and central issues in contract law. It also examines the main perspectives about contract that have influenced English law, including perspectives that used to be historically important. In particular, it explores the notions of bargains and the will. The chapter goes on to address two very different understandings of contracts: one that sees it primarily as a bundle of rights, and one that sees it as a relationship between the parties.

Chapter

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

6. Privity  

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 privity in the law of contract. The doctrine of privity dictates that a person who is not a party to the contract cannot be granted contractual rights by the contract or be placed under contractual obligations by it. It explores the rationale of the principle, discusses the authorities that established it, and explores the various common law exceptions to the rule that a third party cannot acquire rights under a contract. This chapter also explores in detail the statutory exception to privity provided in the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

1. Introduction to the law of 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. Contracts are legally enforceable agreements intended for planned exchanges that are regulated by the principles of contract law. This chapter looks at some of the main theories underpinning the development of English contract law and examines the nature of contractual liability. Contractual obligations arise largely from party agreement and this distinguishes contractual liability from liability in tort. Given the continued relevance of English law in a globalized world (in spite of the UK exiting the European Union), this chapter also briefly introduces the various attempts to produce a set of harmonized principles such as the Common European Sales Law, along with the impact of other international developments including the growth in e-commerce and electronic communications. Moreover, the chapter analyses the most significant European directives and their effect on the development of English contract law, especially in the context of consumer contracts. The implementation of these European directives has resulted in the introduction of the concept of ‘good faith’ into English contract law. Given the increasing importance of good faith as a concept, especially when in the context of ‘a relational contract’, the chapter gives detailed discussion on the scope of and application of good faith in performance of the contract. Finally, the chapter considers the implementation of the Consumer Rights Directive in a number of statutory instruments and the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

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 Koffman, Macdonald & Atkins' Law of Contract

17. Privity and third party rights  

This chapter describes privity of contract, explaining the development of the doctrine and the problems associated with its application. The scope and usage of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 is discussed. The tensions inherently created by the possible freedom of the contracting parties to vary or cancel a third party’s right under an agreement are highlighted. Circumventions of, and exceptions to, the doctrine are also addressed including limitations on the doctrine which may be brought about by an assignment of contractual rights and the doctrine of agency. Finally, the issues surrounding privity and the doctrine of consideration are noted.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

1. Introduction to the law of 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. Contracts are legally enforceable agreements intended for planned exchanges that are regulated by the principles of contract law. This chapter looks at some of the main theories underpinning the development of English contract law and examines the nature of contractual liability. Contractual obligations arise largely from party agreement, and this distinguishes contractual liability from liability in tort. Given the continued relevance of English law in a globalized world (in spite of the UK exiting the European Union), this chapter also briefly introduces the various attempts to produce a set of harmonized principles such as the Common European Sales Law, along with the impact of other international developments including the growth in e-commerce and electronic communications. Moreover, the chapter analyses the most significant European directives and their effect on the development of English contract law, especially in the context of consumer contracts. The implementation of these European directives has resulted in the introduction of the concept of ‘good faith’ into English contract law. Given the increasing importance of good faith as a concept, especially in the context of ‘a relational contract’, the chapter gives detailed discussion on the scope of and application of good faith in performance of the contract. Finally, the chapter considers the implementation of the Consumer Rights Directive in a number of statutory instruments and the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

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.

Book

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

Robert Merkin KC and Séverine Saintier

Course-focused and comprehensive, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law provides an accessible overview of the key areas on the law curriculum. This book has been guiding students through contract law for many years. It places the law of contract clearly within its wider context, including the growing distinction between commercial and consumer contracting, before proceeding to provide detailed yet accessible treatment of all the key areas encountered when studying contract law. Part 1 considers formation, looking in detail at agreement, certainty and agreement mistakes, the enforceability of promises and the intention to be legally bound. Part 2 looks at content, interpretation, exemption clauses and unfair terms, performance, and breach. Part 3 considers the enforcement of contractual obligations, including remedies, detailed treatment of damages for breach of contract, privity and third party rights, and discharge by frustration. Part 4 looks at methods of policing the making of a contract, such as non-agreement mistakes which render the contract void, misrepresentation, duress, undue influence, unconscionable bargains, and illegality. The book also includes references to relevant EU consumer legislation and introduces students to the various attempts (international and European) to produce a harmonized set of contract principles.