Mistake and Non-Disclosure of Fact: Models for English Contract Law

Hardcover | August 30, 2012

byHugh Beale

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In this book Hugh Beale examines the case for reforming the law on mistake and non-disclosure of fact to bring English law closer to the law in much of continental Europe. There, and in common law countries like the US, a party may avoid a contract for mistake of fact on a more liberal basis,and a party who deliberately keeps silent knowing that the other party is making a mistake may be guilty of fraud. This is not necessarily the case in England and Wales. Developing a proposal for law reform, the author concedes that the English courts require a law that puts great emphasis on certainty and expects parties to look out for their own interests; but posits that this individualistic approach is not suitable for smaller businesses which are lesssophisticated and which are likely to be making low value contracts, so that relative cost of taking advice will be high. He argues that the solution may not be to reform English contract law generally, but to support the development of an optional instrument on contract law, along the lines of theCommon European Sales Law recently proposed by the European Commission. This measure is aimed specifically at the needs of small and medium enterprises, and contains the protective rules found in the other jurisdictions. It is aimed primarily at cross-border sales, but Member States would be given the option of adopting it for domestic transactions too. This would givesmall businesses the choice of using the current "hard-nosed" law or adopting the more protective optional instrument, recognizing that different parties require different things from the law governing their contract.

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In this book Hugh Beale examines the case for reforming the law on mistake and non-disclosure of fact to bring English law closer to the law in much of continental Europe. There, and in common law countries like the US, a party may avoid a contract for mistake of fact on a more liberal basis,and a party who deliberately keeps silent kn...

Hugh Beale, QC FBA, is Professor of Law at the University of Warwick, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Oxford. He was a member of the Commission on European Contract Law from 1987-1999, and was a Law Commissioner for England and Wales with responsibility for the Commercial and Common Law Tea...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:170 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.98 inPublished:August 30, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199593884

ISBN - 13:9780199593880

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Table of Contents

1. Defining the IssuesBackground: 'European' Principles of Contract LawDefining the IssueReal Differences between English and the 'European' LawsConclusions2. Mistake and Non-Disclosure in Other SystemsCommonwealth LawsEuropean ModelsUnited StatesWhat to Make of the Survey?3. Possible Models for English LawModels Not to FollowThe Underlying Aim: Protection of Autonomy or Fairness in Exchange?A Plausible 'Informed Consent' ModelRemediesA Provisional Proposal