Category Archives: Contract

‘Special issue: Merchants and commercial conflicts in European history’

“Continuity and Change has a special issue out on ‘Merchants and Commercial Conflicts in Europe, 1250-1600’, 32 (2017): special issue 1. Here is the line-up with abstracts: Alain Wijffels, ‘Introduction: Commercial quarrels – and how (not) to handle them’, 1-9: The settlement of structural commercial conflicts of interest cannot be exclusively subsumed under the heading […]

‘Learning in Standard Form Contracts: Theory and Evidence’

“Standard form contracts are known to be ‘sticky’: Although sophisticated commercial parties should be expected to update their contracts whenever doing so increases contract value, research has shown that this does not always occur. Terms that resist change, even when updating would be value enhancing, are ‘sticky’. Stickiness, however, is not a general phenomenon – […]

Jacob Russell, ‘Unconscionability’s Greatly Exaggerated Death’

ABSTRACT Reports of unconscionability’s demise are greatly exaggerated. According to conventional wisdom, the common-law contracts doctrine is rarely used, except in limiting clauses that purport to waive consumers’ remedial rights. In fact, as this Article documents, the doctrine is quietly flourishing: courts are using it to strike down substantive terms, including interest rates, in consumer […]

Benoliel and Becher, ‘The Duty to Read the Unreadable’

ABSTRACT … Numerous scholars have suggested that consumer contracts are indeed written in a way that dissuades consumers from reading them. This Article aims to empirically test whether this concern is justified. The Article focuses on the readability of an important and prevalent type of consumer agreements: the sign-in-wrap contract. Such contracts, which have already […]

Joshua Gans, ‘The Fine Print in Smart Contracts’

ABSTRACT One of the purported benefits of blockchain technologies is the ability to house what have been termed ‘smart’ contracts. Such contracts are potentially self-executing depending on the state of information recorded on a blockchain ledger. This paper examines the capabilities of smart contracts from an economic perspective. It is demonstrated that by improving observability […]

Call for Papers: Reimagining Contract in a World of Global Value Chains: Sciences Po, Paris, 9-10 May 2019

What does this mean for contract law? No single contractual approach or theory is fully equipped to provide an analysis of the major implications. Rather, it seems about time to initiate a dialogue between competing or complementary contractual theories to explore their respective understanding of and contribution to GVCs. Through this, we hope to see […]

Conklin, Hyde and Parente, ‘Assessing plain and intelligible language in the Consumer Rights Act: a role for reading scores?’

ABSTRACT Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 consumer contracts and consumer notices are required to be expressed in plain and intelligible language. This is a difficult concept to capture. Determining whether a contract is expressed in plain and intelligible language involves resource-intensive work by regulators and difficult adjudications by courts. This paper explores whether reading […]

Ryan Catterwell, ‘Striking a Balance in Contract Interpretation: The Primacy of the Text’

ABSTRACT In Wood v Capita Insurance Services Ltd [2017] AC 1173, the UK Supreme Court emphasised that contract interpretation involves ‘striking a balance between the indications given by the language and the implications of the competing constructions’. This paper investigates the nature of the balancing act at the heart of construction. It argues that the […]

Chris Himsworth, ‘Transplanting Irrationality from Public to Private Law: Braganza v BP Shipping Ltd

ABSTRACT For many years, similarities have been noticed between the motivations for, and the methods of, controlling the exercise of discretionary powers on the one hand, in public law and, on the other hand, in contract law. There has, however, been much disagreement about how far the two processes should aligned, and whether the grounds […]

Bourova, Ramsay and Ali, ‘“It’s easy to say ‘don’t sign anything'”: Debt problems among recent migrants from a non-English-speaking background’

ABSTRACT Legal protections are in place to allow Australians in financial hardship to avoid negative credit ratings and bankruptcy by negotiating alternative payment arrangements with creditors. This article draws upon focus groups with consumer advocates to investigate whether these protections are meeting the needs of recent migrants from a non-English-speaking background. The authors argue that […]