Revisiting the Contracts Scholarship of Stewart Macaulay, Post V: Gillian Hadfield

Maybe Contract Law Isn’t Dead After All. In 1963 Stewart Macaulay asked: what good is contract law? His interviews with business(men) in a range of companies — including giants like General Electric, SC Johnson and Harley-Davidson — suggested the answer was ‘not much’. He was repeatedly told that in practice, formal contracts were rarely drawn up for transactions (and that the boilerplate purchase orders and acknowledgements that might be exchanged weren’t really even seen as ‘contracts’). Any formal contracts that did come into existence were largely ignored, almost never pulled out of the drawer to help resolve transactional problems that might occur along the way. And the idea of litigating, or even threatening to litigate, to resolve a dispute was dismissed almost entirely. A dramatic set of findings …” (more)

[ContractsProf Blog, 27 August]

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