Arguments for codifying English law are long-standing. In the present article, it is suggested that the time has come to produce a code for one area of law that is pre-eminently case-law based, namely contract law. This is for a number of reasons. Notably, the law in its present uncodified state is increasingly uncertain, indeterminate, anomalous, and incomprehensible to anyone other than a common lawyer. It is also argued that the justifications for codification need to be carefully identified. In particular, codification is not needed in order to change the substantive basis of the law, still less to hasten any process of European legal unification. On the contrary: the view expressed here is that overall the substantive English law of contract remains well-suited to governing the relations of businesspeople and others. The justification for a contract code rests on the need to preserve English contract law’s workability and ability to resist calls for its wholesale replacement by provisions in a pan-European code, and in addition on the need to cement its position as the law of choice for international business transactions.
Andrew Tettenborn, ‘Codifying Contracts – An Idea Whose Time has Come?’. Current Legal Problems (2014) doi: 10.1093/clp/cuu014. First published online: August 24, 2014.