Warren Swain, ‘Without the Power to Drink or Contract’

Intoxication as a ground to set aside a contract is not something that has proved to be easy for the law to regulate. This is perhaps not very surprising. Intoxication is a temporary condition of varying degrees of magnitude. Its presence does however raise questions of contractual autonomy and individual responsibility. Alcohol consumption is a common social activity and perceptions of intoxication and especially alcoholism have changed over time. Roman law is surprisingly quiet on the subject. In modern times the rules about intoxicated contracting in Scottish and English law is very similar. Rather more interestingly the law in these two jurisdictions has reached the current position in slightly different ways. This history can be traced through English Equity, the works of the Scottish Institutional writers, the rise of the Will Theory, and all leavened with a dose of judicial pragmatism.

Warren Swain, Without the Power to Drink or Contract, Edinburgh Law Review / Volume 24, Issue 1 / January 2020.

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