Paul MacMahon, ‘Conflict and Contract Law’

This article examines an underexplored reason to have contract law: conflict minimisation. An important function of contract law, the article contends, is to diminish the wasted time, effort and resources spent on disputes over economic exchange, and to reduce the incidence of harm resulting from these disputes. Minimising conflict typically serves the parties’ own interests, and it also serves the public interest in social peace. These insights have implications not just for contract law as a whole, but also for its doctrinal details. The article thus discusses how several doctrines of substantive contract law help to minimise conflict, without claiming that currently prevailing contract law regimes are perfectly adapted to this aim. Finally, it defends the normative claim that conflict minimisation should be considered one of contract law’s goals.

Paul MacMahon, Conflict and Contract Law, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Published: 24 April 2018.

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