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Update on Contract

NZ $35.00
Author(s): John Burrows
Published: 18 October, 1999
Pages: 90



The last Update on Contract seminar was in 1991. The object of this new seminar is to examine developments since that date and to try to assess the direction in which the Law of Contract is moving. Whereas one was able to say in 1991 that much new doctrine had developed which had the potential to alter substatially the shape of the Law of Contract, the ensuing eight years have witnessed a cautious re-emphasis on traditional principles.

In discussing trends, one is of course aware that in any complex subject it would be unrealistic to expect complete consistency. The facts of cases differ; different judges may have different approaches; and, perhaps most importantly, binding precedent sometimes stands in the way of smooth development. Nevertheless, in so far as it is possible to generalise, one may summarsie the trends of the past few years in two propositions:

In deciding whether a party should incur contractual liability for a promise the courts have continued the trends observed in the 1991 paper, of taking more account than they once did of commercial good sense and the reasonable expectations of business people. They are reluctant to allow rigid formalism to determine the matter. On occasion, promises are enforced via avenues other than contract.

However, once parties have entered a contract, particularly a signed written contract, the courts are very reluctant to allow them to escape from it. The various doctrines excusing people from their contracts, which showed signs of strong development in the 1980s, remain but have been confined within a narrow ambit.


Content outline

  • Establishing liability
  • Vitiating elements
  • Accord and satisfaction
  • Interpretation
  • Misrepresentation
  • Cancellation for breach and misrepresentation
  • Cancellation: other statues
  • Micellaneous
  • Problems
View contents page

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