Contract Theory

Paperback | April 15, 2004

byStephen A. Smith

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This book is both an examination of, and a contribution to, our understanding of the theoretical foundations of the common law of contract. Focusing on contemporary debates in contract theory, Contract Theory aims to help readers better understand the nature and justification of the generalidea of contractual obligation, as well as the nature and justification of the particular rules that make up the law of contract. The book is in three parts. Part I introduces the idea of 'contract theory', and presents a framework for identifying, classifying, and evaluating contract theories. Part II describes and evaluates the most important general theories of contract; examples include promissory theories, reliance-based theories, and economic theories. In Part III, the theoretical issues raised by the various specific doctrines that make up the law of contract (e.g., offer and acceptance, consideration, mistake, remedies, etc.) are examined in separate chapters. The legal focus of the book is the common law of the United Kingdom, but thetheoretical literature discussed is international in origin; the arguments discussed are thus relevant to understanding the law of other common law jurisdictions and, in many instances, to understanding the law of civil law jurisdictions as well.

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This book is both an examination of, and a contribution to, our understanding of the theoretical foundations of the common law of contract. Focusing on contemporary debates in contract theory, Contract Theory aims to help readers better understand the nature and justification of the generalidea of contractual obligation, as well as th...

Prof Stephen Smith is Professor of Law at McGill University, Montreal and former Tutor and Fellow in Law at St Anne's College, Oxford.

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Format:PaperbackPublished:April 15, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198765614

ISBN - 13:9780198765615

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Table of Contents

I: METHODOLOGY1. What is Contract Theory?II: GENERAL THEORIES OF CONTRACT2. Introduction to General Theories: Classification and Overview3. The Nature of Contractual Obligations: The Analytic Question4. The Justification of Contractual Obligations: The Normative QuestionIII: CONTRACT LAW DOCTRINES5. Establishing Agreement: The Law of Offer and Acceptance6. The Kinds of Agreements that are Enforced: Formalities, Intention to Create Legal Relations, Consideration, and Estoppel7. The Kinds of Agreements not Enforced: Substantive Limitations on Enforceability8. The Content of the Contract: Interpreting and Implying Terms9. Excuses for Non-Performance: Duress, Unconscionability, Mistake, Misrepresentation, Frustration, and Discharge for Breach10. Breach of Contract: The Puzzle of Strict Liability11. Remedies for Breach

Editorial Reviews

.,."fascinating and important contribution to the current debates. Part textbook and part original analysis, Smith surveys most of the prominent contemporary theories of contract law and ultimately offers a detailed argument in favor of a unified theory built around the moral force of promising....Stephen Smith has produced an impressive and important book. It provides a detailed and nearly comprehensive introduction to contemporary theories of contract law. Perhaps more importantly, it makes important contributions both to the theory of promising and contracts and to the larger issue of how scholars should adjudicate between the claims of competing theories of the law."--Michigan Law Review