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Chapter

Cover Anson's Law of Contract

5. The Terms of the Contract  

Jack Beatson, Andrew Burrows, and John Cartwright

This chapter discusses the nature and import of contractual terms and the form which they may take. First, it distinguishes the terms of a contract from representations, which are statements made by one party to the other that are not intended to be an integral part of the agreement. Similarly, collateral warranties, which are preliminary assurances that are contractually binding, but not as part of the principal agreement, are distinguished from representations which are not contractually binding. Second, the importance of different types of terms is examined by reference to the distinction between conditions, warranties, and innominate terms. Third, the implication of terms into contracts is explored. Finally, the chapter considers the interpretation or construction of terms.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law Directions

5. Positive terms  

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. The terms of the contract give substance to the contractual parties’ obligations. They lay down what each party is expected to do in performance of his obligations, and so it is crucial in any dispute to first establish the terms of the contract before looking to see whether one party has failed to perform his obligations. This chapter focuses on the positive terms of the contract. The discussions cover terms and representations; collateral warranties; implied terms; and conditions, warranties and innominate terms and the significance of the remedies, including termination, attached to each.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law Directions

5. Positive terms  

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. The terms of the contract give substance to the contractual parties’ obligations. They lay down what each party is expected to do in performance of his obligations, and so it is crucial in any dispute to first establish the terms of the contract before looking to see whether one party has failed to perform his obligations. This chapter focuses on the positive terms of the contract. The discussions cover terms and representations; collateral warranties; implied terms; and conditions, warranties and innominate terms and the significance of the remedies, including termination, attached to each.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Contract Law

Hong Kong Fir Shipping Co. Ltd v Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd [1962] 2 QB 26  

Essential Cases: Contract Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Hong Kong Fir Shipping Co. Ltd v Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd [1962] 2 QB 26, Court of Appeal. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Nicola Jackson.

Chapter

Cover Essential Cases: Contract Law 5e

Hong Kong Fir Shipping Co. Ltd v Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd [1962] 2 QB 26  

Essential Cases: Contract Law provides a bridge between course textbooks and key case judgments. This case document summarizes the facts and decision in Hong Kong Fir Shipping Co. Ltd v Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd [1962] 2 QB 26, Court of Appeal. The document also includes supporting commentary from author Nicola Jackson.

Chapter

Cover Koffman, Macdonald & Atkins' Law of Contract

8. Classification of terms  

This chapter distinguishes conditions, warranties, and innominate terms in relation to the different consequences of their breach; the availability, or not, of the right to terminate for breach. It identifies the test for determining which classification applies to a particular term, relating it to the benefits and drawbacks of the condition and the innominate term categorizations: certainty/inflexibility in relation to conditions and flexibility/certainty in relation to innominate terms. The development of the innominate term approach in Hong Kong Fir is explored. The significance of the objective intention of the parties at the time the contract was made is examined with reference to key cases, such as Bunge v Tradax and Ark Shipping v Silverburn Shipping.

Chapter

Cover JC Smith's The Law of Contract

25. Conditions, warranties, and innominate terms  

If a party fails to perform a promise in a contract, it is in breach and liable to pay damages. But some breaches of contract not only entitle the injured party to claim damages, but also to put an end to the contract. The nature of the term becomes important when considering the right to terminate. This chapter discusses the meaning and scope of conditions, warranties, and innominate terms. A party may terminate a contract for breach of condition, but never for breach of warranty. Terms that are neither conditions nor warranties are called ‘innominate’ terms. It may be possible to terminate a contract for breach of an innominate term if the breach is sufficiently serious. Breaches which justify termination are often called ‘repudiatory breaches’. The chapter also considers express termination clauses and another difficult sense in which the term ‘condition’ is used, namely to denote an ‘entire obligation’.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

15. Breach of contract  

Repudiation and the right to terminate

This chapter examines how English law defines breach of contract and what the immediate effect of breach is on the validity of the contract, along with the obligations of the parties under the contract. It first considers the core principles underlying the law’s approach to defining breach before explaining how the courts assess performance and the consequences of breach, with particular emphasis on cases involving repudiation. It then discusses three types or classes of contractual terms: conditions, warranties, and innominate terms. It also looks at how the law deals with situations of anticipatory breach and concludes with an analysis of the scope and limits of the right of a party to terminate the contract following a repudiatory breach by the other party.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

5. Content of the contract and principles of interpretation  

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 what the parties to a contract have undertaken to do; that is, the terms of the contract, and the principles determining how the courts interpret the meaning of those contractual terms. It considers whether pre-contractual statements are terms or mere representations. The chapter then turns to written contracts, focusing on the parol evidence rule, entire agreement clauses, and the effect of signature on the contractual document. It also discusses oral contracts and incorporation of written terms in such contracts by means of signature, reasonable notice, consistent course of dealing, and common knowledge of the parties. In addition to express terms, this chapter looks at how terms are implied, particularly terms implied by the courts—terms implied in law and terms implied in fact. There is discussion of the typical implied terms in sale and supply contracts in the B2B and B2C context. Finally, this chapter focuses on the principles governing the interpretation of contractual terms.

Chapter

Cover Contract Law

22. Breach of Contract and Termination  

This chapter begins with a definition of ‘breach of contract’ and then outlines the circumstances in which a breach of contract gives to the innocent party a right to terminate further performance of the contract. These include breach of a condition and breach of an intermediate term where the consequences of the breach are sufficiently serious. The chapter also considers the problems that can arise in deciding the status of a term which has not been classified by the parties as a condition, a warranty, or an intermediate term. It examines termination clauses and the significance attached to the good faith of the party who is alleged to have repudiated the contract. The chapter includes a brief comparison of English law with the Vienna Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods and with the Principles of European Contract Law, and also addresses the question of whether an innocent party is obligated to exercise its right to terminate further performance of the contract, and considers the loss of the right to terminate. It concludes with a discussion of the law of anticipatory breach of contract.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Casebook on Contract Law

5. Content of the contract and principles of interpretation  

Robert Merkin KC, Séverine Saintier, and Jill Poole

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 what the parties to a contract have undertaken to do; that is, the terms of the contract, and the principles determining how the courts interpret the meaning of those contractual terms. It considers whether pre-contractual statements are terms or mere representations. The chapter then turns to written contracts, focusing on the parol evidence rule, entire agreement clauses, and the effect of signature on the contractual document. It also discusses oral contracts and incorporation of written terms in such contracts by means of signature, reasonable notice, consistent course of dealing, and common knowledge of the parties. In addition to express terms, this chapter looks at how terms are implied, particularly terms implied by the courts—terms implied in law and terms implied in fact. There is discussion of the typical implied terms in sale and supply contracts in the B2B and B2C context. Finally, this chapter focuses on the principles governing the interpretation of contractual terms.

Chapter

Cover Concentrate Questions and Answers Contract Law

4. Terms of the 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 terms of the contract. It contains questions and answers concerning express and implied terms, how terms are to be identified, and how they are to be classified in order to determine what consequences flow from their breach. The chapter also considers two key debates: the basis on which the courts imply terms into contracts, and whether the courts approach the classification of terms highlights a tension in the law between certainty and justice.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

5. Content of the contract and principles of interpretation  

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 explores how the terms of the parties’ agreement (that is, the contractual promise to be performed) are identified and how the courts interpret the meaning of those terms. It considers the status of statements made prior to the conclusion of the contract (as terms or representations) and why this matters. The parol evidence rule applies where the contract is written and provides that the writing represents the entire contract. This definition is flawed, however, because it allows the rule to be sidestepped by defining the contract as partly written and partly oral. Alternatively, an oral term can take effect as a collateral contract, which is separate to any written contract to which the parol evidence rule applies. The effect of the parol evidence rules can be achieved by incorporating an entire agreement clause. This chapter also considers the effect and impact of a no oral modification clause (or NOM). This chapter examines methods of achieving incorporation of terms such as signature, reasonable notice (or a higher standard of notice if the term is onerous or unusual), consistent course of dealing and common knowledge of the parties. In addition to the express terms, there may be terms implied by custom, by courts or by statute. Finally, the chapter considers the principles on which contracts are interpreted including the relevance, or otherwise, of pre-contractual negotiations.

Chapter

Cover Poole's Textbook on Contract Law

5. Content of the contract and principles of interpretation  

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. This chapter explores how the terms of the parties’ agreement (that is, the contractual promise to be performed) are identified and how the courts interpret the meaning of those terms. It considers the status of statements made prior to the conclusion of the contract (as terms or representations) and why this matters. The parol evidence rule applies where the contract is written and provides that the writing represents the entire contract. This definition is flawed, however, because it allows the rule to be sidestepped by defining the contract as partly written and partly oral. Alternatively, an oral term can take effect as a collateral contract, which is separate to any written contract to which the parol evidence rule applies. The effect of the parol evidence rules can be achieved by incorporating an entire agreement clause. This chapter also considers the effect and impact of a no oral modification clause (or NOM). This chapter examines methods of achieving incorporation of terms such as signature, reasonable notice (or a higher standard of notice if the term is onerous or unusual), consistent course of dealing and common knowledge of the parties. In addition to the express terms, there may be terms implied by custom, by courts or by statute. Finally, the chapter considers the principles on which contracts are interpreted including the relevance, or otherwise, of pre-contractual negotiations.