This is the text of the inaugural Farquharson Lecture, delivered at Keble College, Oxford, on 8 May 2017. These Lectures were established by the Harris Society, the law society at Keble College, in honour of The Rt Hon Sir Donald Farquharson, an Old Member and Honorary Fellow of the College who served as a Lord Justice of Appeal between 1989 and 1995 and passed away in 2011. The 2017 Lecture discusses the approach to the interpretation of contracts adopted by the Supreme Court in a number of recent cases. It concludes that the Court may be retreating from the principles set out by Lord Hoffmann in Investors Compensation Scheme Ltd v West Bromwich Building Society  1 WLR 896. The Lecture is reproduced here with the kind permission of its organisers, Dr James Goudkamp and Mr Sebastian Bates, and appears as it was delivered, with only minor editorial changes.
Jonathan Sumption, ‘A question of taste: the Supreme Court and the interpretation of contracts’, Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal. Published online: 18 Jul 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14729342.2017.1351755.