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Contracts Cases Outline

Contract law concerns the creation and enforcement of binding agreements between parties. Generally, the elements of a legally enforceable contract are assent, a valid offer, acceptance, and consideration. Most contract law concepts stem from common law, but some come from other sources, such as the universally adopted Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). Below is an outline of key cases in contract law with links to the full text of virtually every case, provided free by Justia.

  • 2 Mutual Misunderstanding
  • 4 Destroying an Offer
  • 5 Option Contracts
  • 6 Acceptance
  • 7 Imperfect Acceptances
  • 8 Consideration
  • 9 Reliance and Promissory Estoppel
  • 10 Contract Terms
  • 11 Integrated Agreements
  • 12 Conditions Precedent
  • 13 Definiteness
  • 14 Unconscionability
  • 16 The Statute of Frauds
  • 17 Breach of Contract
  • 18 Anticipatory Repudiation
  • 19 Excusing Conditions
  • 20 Remedies

Assent binds parties in a contract. Assent is measured by the outward manifestations of the parties, rather than the inner, private, or secret intentions of the parties. Assent may be found when a reasonable person in the situation would have believed that there was assent, even if one party lacked subjective intent to be bound.

Lucy v. Zehmer 一 A contract is enforceable if one party reasonably believes that the other party has sufficient intent to enter into the agreement, even if the other party actually does not.

Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc. 一 Generally, an advertisement is not an offer. In evaluating whether an advertisement was an offer, a court will not consider the subjective intents or views of the parties, but what an objective, reasonable person would have understood.

Gleason v. Freeman 一 Whether a binding contract exists depends on the objective expressions of intent to be bound and the definitiveness of the terms of the agreement. When a party’s words create doubt as to their intent to be bound, a court will consider the situation and conduct of the parties under the circumstances. Continuing to negotiate an agreement’s terms may be evidence that the parties did not intend to be bound.

Mutual Misunderstanding

There is no mutual assent if the parties attach materially different meanings to their manifestations. However, the meaning attached by one party may control if that party does not know or have reason to know of a different meaning attached by the other and the other knows or has reason to know of the meaning attached by the first.

Raffles v. Wichelhaus 一 A contract is invalid if there is no meeting of the minds, as is the case when there is a mutual mistake.

An offer is a manifestation of assent by an offeror to an offeree that the offeror commits to a deal on specific terms and gives the offeree the power to assent to the terms and make a contract. If the so-called offeree knows that the so-called offeror does not intend to give the offeree the power to make a contract by simply accepting, there is no offer.

Lonergan v. Scolnick 一 An invitation for offers is not by itself an offer to form an enforceable contract.

Maryland Supreme Corp. v. Blake Co. 一 A mere price quotation and an invitation to enter into negotiations is not an offer, but whether an offer was made depends on the intention of the parties and the facts and circumstances of the case.

Sateriale v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. 一 An offer to enter into a unilateral contract may exist when an advertiser, in clear and positive terms, promises performance in exchange for something requested by the advertiser, and the recipient of the advertisement reasonably may conclude that acting in accordance with the request would form a contract. Advertisements may be offers when they invite the performance of a specific act without further communication and leave nothing for negotiation. If the offeror retains some discretion in performance, this does not preclude the existence of an offer.

Destroying an Offer

There are four general ways to destroy an offer: rejection or counteroffer, revocation, lapse, or death or incapacity. An offer may be effectively revoked if the offeree learns that the offeror no longer intends to keep the offer open, even if the offer is not expressly revoked. An offer may lapse after a reasonable period of time, depending on the circumstances surrounding the offer.

Dickinson v. Dodds 一 A promise to keep an offer open for a certain period of time is not binding without the consideration and acceptance necessary to form a binding agreement. One cannot accept an offer when they have knowledge that the offeror’s mind is no longer in agreement, even if the offeror did not expressly retract the offer.

Minnesota Linseed Oil Co. v. Collier White Lead Co. 一 An acceptance must be made within a reasonable time after an offer is received, as defined by the circumstances of the case.

Option Contracts

An option contract is a promise that the offeror’s right to revoke their offer will be limited, usually by a period of time. An offer is generally binding as an option contract if it is in writing and signed by the offeror, includes purported consideration, and proposes an exchange on fair terms within a reasonable time. (An offer may also be binding as an option contract if it is made irrevocable by statute.)

Beall v. Beall 一 An option agreement must be supported by consideration to be binding. Otherwise, it is a mere offer to sell, which may be revoked at any time before acceptance. However, an option may be binding if it is accepted within the time limit and before the offer is withdrawn.

Board of Control of Eastern Michigan University v. Burgess 一 One dollar may be valid consideration for an option to purchase land, so long as the dollar is paid or tendered. Written acknowledgment of receipt of consideration merely creates a rebuttable presumption of consideration. If an option contract fails for lack of consideration, the underlying offer will not be affected. However, the underlying offer may then be revoked at any time.

An offeree exercises their power to create a contract by accepting an offer. An offeree usually has a reasonable period of time to accept an offer, unless the offer specifies a time limit. Conduct by both parties recognizing the existence of a contract may be sufficient to show an agreement, even if the moment when a sufficient agreement was formed cannot be determined.

La Salle National Bank v. Vega 一 There is no offer when the so-called offer is not intended to give the so-called offeree the power to make a contract. A contract may dictate certain requirements for acceptance and may specify the mode of acceptance required.

Ever-Tite Roofing Corp. v. Green 一 If the time limit to accept is not specified in the offer, it is within a reasonable period of time. What constitutes a reasonable period of time is determined by the nature of the proposed contract, usages of business, and other relevant circumstances that the offeree knows or has reason to know at the time of acceptance.

Maryland Supreme Corp. v. Blake Co. 一 Conduct by both parties recognizing the existence of a contract may be sufficient to show an agreement, even if the moment when a sufficient agreement was formed cannot be determined. In addition to any contractual language, usage of trade, course of dealing and performance, and general circumstances may be used to determine the terms of the parties’ agreement.

Hendricks v. Behee 一 A valid contract is only formed when acceptance of the offer is communicated to the offeror. Similarly, a revocation is only effective when it is communicated to the offeree before acceptance. Communication of acceptance of a contract to an agent of the offeree does not bind the offeror. However, when an agent of the offeree obtains notice that the offer was withdrawn, that notice is binding upon the offeree.

Adams v. Lindsell 一 Under the mailbox rule, an offer is accepted when the acceptance is put into the mail by the offeree.

Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. 一 An advertisement may be an express contractual promise to pay when evidence of the advertiser’s sincerity, such as a deposit of the reward in a bank, would lead a reasonable person to think that they had the power of acceptance. Acceptance of such an offer may be made by performance, and no prior notice of the acceptance is required.

Marchiondo v. Scheck 一 An offer that invites acceptance by performance, which does not also invite acceptance by promissory acceptance, may not be revoked after performance has begun. Beginning performance effectively creates an option contract conditional on completed performance in accordance with the offer’s terms.

Imperfect Acceptances

Imperfect acceptances (or implied rejections) may take the form of counteroffers, acceptances with conditions, or responses containing new terms. Under the mirror image rule, acceptance generally must be coextensive with the offer and may not include additional terms or conditions. The mirror image rule is different for transactions falling under Section 2-207 of the UCC.

Gresser v. Hotzler 一 Under the mirror image rule, acceptance must be coextensive with the offer and may not introduce additional terms or conditions. Immaterial variations included in an acceptance will not hinder contract formation. However, a material term or condition introduced in the acceptance may preclude contract formation.

Diamond Fruit Growers, Inc. v. Krack Corp. v. Metal-matic, Inc. 一 Under UCC Section 2-207, a common-law counteroffer containing different or additional terms operates as an acceptance if the responding form includes a definite and seasonable expression of acceptance. Between merchants, such terms become part of the contract unless the offer expressly limits acceptance to its terms, the terms materially alter the contract, or a party objects to the terms. If the definite and seasonable expression of acceptance is expressly conditioned on assent to the different or additional terms, a contract is not created unless the offeror assents to the new terms. If the conduct of the parties recognizes the existence of a contract, but the offeror does not assent to the new terms, only the terms on which the parties’ forms agree will remain, and any other terms may be replaced with UCC terms.

Klocek v. Gateway, Inc. 一 Additional terms included with a product do not become part of a contract if the purchaser is not a merchant, unless the purchaser expressly agrees to them.

Hancock v. American Telephone & Telegraph Co., Inc. 一 Clickwrap agreements, which require a computer user to consent to terms and conditions by clicking on a dialog box, are typically upheld when they were clearly presented to the consumer, and the consumer had an opportunity to read the agreement and unambiguously accepted the terms.


Consideration may be virtually anything for which one would bargain in exchange for a promise. Consideration may be a return promise, some kind of property, an affirmative action, or the forbearance of a legal right. Usually, consideration is a return promise. A contract will be unenforceable if it lacks consideration or an adequate substitute.

Reed v. University of North Dakota 一 Surrender of a legal right by signing a release form in exchange for participation may constitute consideration.

McCormick v. Dresdale 一 The forbearance of a legal right may qualify as valid consideration for a settlement agreement, but claims forgone that were false and made in bad faith may not constitute valid consideration.

Kirksey v. Kirkse y 一 A mere gratuitous promise without consideration is not enforceable, even if the promisee reasonably relied upon the promise and incurred a detriment.

Hamer v. Sidway 一 The forbearance of a legal right may still be valid consideration even if such forbearance benefited the promisee and did not benefit the promisor.

Schnell v. Nell 一 Consideration of one cent, which is clearly nominal, cannot support an exchange of $600. Furthermore, a moral consideration cannot support a promise, nor will a compromise of a legally groundless claim. Past services, love, and affection cannot be legal consideration for the promise to pay money to a third person.

Hooters of America, Inc. v. Phillips 一 There is no consideration if a return promise is in fact illusory. An illusory promise is one that makes performance optional and is, therefore, no promise at all. A promise to arbitrate when one party retains the right to modify or terminate the agreement, thereby creating an imbalance of obligation, is an illusory and unenforceable promise.

Alaska Packers’ Ass’n v. Domenico 一 There is no consideration when a party refuses to perform that which they are already bound to perform until the other party agrees to increased compensation for that same performance.

Angel v. Murray 一 A contract modification is generally unenforceable without additional consideration, and a promise to perform a pre-existing duty is not valid consideration. However, if the parties voluntarily and in good faith agree to a modification, it may be enforced without additional consideration if it is made to fairly and equitably address unexpected or unanticipated circumstances that arise during performance.

Reliance and Promissory Estoppel

When a promisee reasonably and foreseeably relies on a promise to their detriment, the promise is enforced to avoid injustice. Similarly, when an offeror should reasonably expect to and does in fact induce the offeree’s substantial action or forbearance before acceptance, a binding option contract may be enforced to the extent necessary to avoid injustice.

Ricketts v. Scothorn 一 When a promisee alters their position for the worse in reliance on a promisor’s promise, and the promisor should have expected that alteration as a reasonable and probable consequence of their promise, the promise may be enforced under the doctrine of equitable estoppel.

Dixon v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. 一 It is not necessary that there be an intent to mislead or deceive for an otherwise unenforceable contract to be enforced under the doctrine of promissory estoppel. Instead, under the circumstances, it must be unjust to allow one party to walk away from the natural or reasonably anticipated detrimental consequences of their representations or conduct when they take advantage of or string along another party. In such cases, pre-contractual liability should be limited to reliance expenditures.

Salsbury v. Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. 一 For reasons of public policy, charitable subscriptions should be binding even if there is no consideration or detrimental reliance.

Contract Terms

Contracts may contain both express and implied terms. If a dispute arises because contract language is ambiguous, a court may consider evidence other than the language contained therein, such as the circumstances surrounding the contract. Courts sometimes infer contract terms by examining circumstances such as course of performance, course of dealing, and usage of trade.

Threadgill v. Peabody Coal Co. 一 A party may be bound by trade usage if they had actual knowledge of the trade usage, or if the trade usage was so well established as to suggest constructive knowledge. When a party has not expressly agreed to be bound by trade usage, it may only be binding if it is reasonable, generally meaning that the usage must not be illegal or violative of public policy.

Wood v. Lucy, Lady of Duff-Gordon 一 An implied promise may exist when a contract’s express terms lack mutuality of obligation.

Billman v. Hensel 一 Financing clauses impose an implied obligation to make a reasonable and good-faith effort to satisfy the condition. A promisor cannot be excused from performance because of a condition precedent when they prevented the performance of the condition themselves.

Locke v. Warner Bros., Inc. 一 A contract that gives one party discretion affecting the rights of the other party imposes a duty to exercise that discretion in good faith and in accordance with fair dealing. In cases of subjective satisfaction, so long as dissatisfaction is asserted in good faith, it does not matter whether such dissatisfaction is reasonable.

Traders Bank v. Dils 一 Generally, there is no fraud when a promise is not performed, but an exception exists when the device used to accomplish the fraud is the promise itself. Fraudulent inducement is based on a party’s fraudulent representation of their intention to perform, rather than a breach of the agreement to perform.

Frigaliment Importing Co. v. B.N.S. Int’l Sales Corp. 一 When a contract term is in dispute, a court will consider the language of the contract; definitions of the term from other sources, such as dictionaries and regulations; the circumstances surrounding the agreement, including preliminary negotiations; trade usage; and course of performance. A court will also consider whether one party knew or should have known how the other party interpreted the contract.

Random House, Inc. v. Rosetta Books LLC 一 Contract language is ambiguous if a reasonably intelligent person who has considered the context of the agreement and applicable customs, practices, usages, and terminology could objectively interpret the language in more than one way. If contract language is ambiguous, a court will consider extrinsic evidence to interpret it. If contract language can most reasonably be read to convey one certain meaning, the party wishing to deviate from that interpretation bears the burden of negotiating for language expressing that deviation.

Integrated Agreements

Only a binding, completely integrated agreement discharges prior agreements to the extent that they are within its scope. An agreement is not completely integrated if it omits a consistent, additional agreed term either agreed to for separate consideration or naturally omitted under the circumstances.

Trident Center v. Connecticut General Life Ins. Co. 一 There is no prohibition against the use of parol evidence in interpreting contracts under California state law, no matter how thoroughly they appear to be integrated.

Mitchill v. Lath 一 An oral agreement may alter a written contract if it is a collateral agreement, it does not contradict express or implied provisions of the written contract, and it is one that parties would not ordinarily include in the written contract. An oral agreement may not alter a written contract if it is closely related to the subject of the written agreement.

Masterson v. Sine 一 Parol evidence may not be used to add to or alter the terms of an integrated agreement. To determine whether a written contract was an integration, meaning a complete and final embodiment of the terms, a court will consider whether the parties intended their writing to serve as the exclusive embodiment of the agreement. If an agreement is only partially integrated, parol evidence can be used to prove elements of the agreement that are not reduced to writing.

Luther Williams, Jr., Inc. v. Johnson 一 The parol evidence rule does not prevent a court from admitting testimony concerning an oral condition precedent. Parol testimony concerning an oral condition precedent is admissible when the contract is silent on the matter, the testimony does not contradict the writing, and it may be inferred under the circumstances that the parties did not intend the writing to encompass their entire agreement.

In re Soper’s Estate 一 When contract language is ambiguous not on its face, but when practically applied, parol evidence is admissible to determine the parties’ intent.

Conditions Precedent

If parties include a condition precedent in their agreement, the performance obligations to which the condition precedent applies will not become due until the condition precedent is satisfied.

Luttinger v. Rosen 一 A contract is not binding if a condition precedent, meaning a fact or event that the parties intend must exist or take place before performance, is not met.

Dove v. Rose Acre Farms, Inc. 一 An employer may not be obligated to perform under a bonus contract until the employee has satisfied all required conditions, even if those conditions seem especially strict.

Evans, Mechwart, Hambleton & Tilton, Inc. v. Triad Architects, Ltd. 一 A pay-when-paid provision operates only as a timing mechanism, while a pay-if-paid provision operates as a condition precedent that may discharge the duty to pay if the parties clearly intended to create such a condition precedent.


A contract may be unenforceable if a material term of the agreement is too indefinite. A contract will not fail for indefiniteness if the parties intended to make a contract, and there is a reasonably certain basis for giving an appropriate remedy.

Varney v. Ditmars 一 The words “fair” and “reasonable” may be definite enough to be enforceable, depending on the circumstances of the case, especially when they are used synonymously with “market value.” However, such words may be too indefinite to be enforceable when their meaning cannot be determined with a reasonable degree of certainty under the circumstances.

Community Design Corp. v. Antonell 一 An uncertain contract may nevertheless be enforceable when one party benefits from another party’s performance. A jury may properly determine the exact terms of such a contract.

Walker v. Keith 一 An agreement to agree, even in a renewal option, is not enforceable. Only option contracts that specify all the material terms with substantial certainty and leave nothing to be agreed upon in the future are enforceable.

Moonlenaar v. Co-Build Companies, Inc. 一 If a renewal clause leaves rent to be determined by a subsequent agreement, it is implied that the new rent will be “reasonable” or the “fair market” value, and is thus specific enough to be enforceable. Parol evidence may be used to explain the implicit term and show what the parties intended. There may be additional reason to enforce a renewal option when a party has already paid valuable consideration, such as higher rent.


A contract may be unenforceable for unconscionability in certain circumstances. A court may consider such factors as the relevant bargaining power between the parties, their relationship, the ability of the accepting party to review and understand the contract before signing, and whether the terms unreasonably favored one party.

Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co. 一 Unconscionability, including an absence of meaningful choice on the part of one of the parties together with contract terms unreasonably favorable to the other party, may be a valid defense to the enforcement of a contract.

Vernon v. Qwest Communications Int’l, Inc. 一 In Colorado, a contract is unconscionable if it is both substantively and procedurally unconscionable. Relevant factors include unequal bargaining power, lack of opportunity to read the document before signing it, use of fine print, an absence of evidence that the provision was commercially reasonable, the terms of the contract, the relationship of the parties, and the circumstances surrounding the formation of the contract.

A contract may be rescinded when a mistaken belief related to a basic assumption of both parties materially affects the agreed performance. However, rescission may not be appropriate when the party challenging the contract has assumed the risk of loss related to a mistake.

Estate of Nelson v. Rice 一 A party bears the risk of mistake when they are aware at the time of contracting that they have only limited knowledge of the facts to which the mistake relates but treat such knowledge as sufficient. One who is consciously ignorant may be said to have assumed the risks associated with that ignorance.

Grenall v. United of Omaha Life Ins. Co. 一 A decedent’s unilateral mistaken belief that they were in good health when purchasing an annuity is not a valid basis to rescind the contract. The burden of such a risk is reasonable because it is an inherent part of a life annuity contract.

The Statute of Frauds

The statute of frauds provides that certain agreements are not enforceable without a written document signed by the party against whom enforcement is sought. Agreements that fall under the statute of frauds include contracts not performed within one year of the making of the contract, contracts for the sale of goods worth $500 or more, and contracts involving an interest in land.

Radke v. Brenon 一 A letter written to offer land for sale is sufficient to satisfy the Minnesota statute of frauds. Under the statute, a note or memorandum may be sufficient evidence to enforce an oral contract so long as the writing expresses consideration, is signed by the selling party or their lawful agent authorized in writing, and states expressly or by necessary implication the parties to the contract, the land involved, and the general terms and conditions of the sale. When all the evidence clearly indicates that an oral contract was made, a court may overlook technical requirements that would otherwise lead to an outcome contrary to the statute's purpose.

DF Activities Corp. v. Brown 一 There is an exception to the UCC's statute of frauds when the party against whom enforcement is sought admits in court that an oral contract for sale was made. However, once one party has submitted a sworn statement denying the existence of a contract, the other party cannot continue a lawsuit under the exception, hoping that the first party will perjure themselves.

McIntosh v. Murphy 一 A court has discretion to ignore the statute of frauds to avoid injustice, especially considering the doctrines of part performance and equitable estoppel.

Breach of Contract

Once a party breaches a contract, the other party has the right to sue for damages. If the breach is material, the party may have the right to suspend their own performance while pursuing damages. A breach is not material if there was substantial performance of the contract.

Kingston v. Preston 一 If a condition precedent is not met by one party, the other has no duty to perform, since their obligation to perform does not arise until the condition is satisfied.

Jacob & Youngs, Inc. v. Kent 一 Parties are obligated to fully perform under their contracts, but a trivial and innocent omission may sometimes be excused to the extent that damages may be limited to the difference in value between the performance bargained for and the actual performance, rather than the cost of replacement.

Anticipatory Repudiation

Anticipatory repudiation occurs when one party unequivocally manifests their intention not to perform their contractual obligations before they become due. Generally, an aggrieved party may await performance for a reasonable period of time or pursue a remedy for the breach.

Hochster v. De La Tour 一 Once a party repudiates their contractual obligations, the other party has the right to sue under the contract, even if performance has not yet become due.

Norcon Power Partners, L.P. v. Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. 一 If one party reasonably believes that the other will commit a breach by non-performance, they have the right to demand adequate assurance of future performance. This UCC principle is equally applicable under New York common law.

Excusing Conditions

Certain conditions may excuse a party from performing their contractual obligations. Under the doctrine of impossibility, a party may generally be excused from performance if performance becomes impossible or impracticable due to no fault of their own. Under the doctrine of frustration of purpose, a party may be excused from performance if their principal purpose for contracting is substantially frustrated by no fault of their own.

Acme Markets, Inc. v. Federal Armored Express, Inc. 一 If the non-occurrence of a condition would cause a disproportionate forfeiture, a court may excuse the non-occurrence so long as the condition was an immaterial part of the agreement. To determine whether a forfeiture is disproportionate, a court must weigh the extent of the obligee’s forfeiture against the importance of the risk against which the obligor sought to protect and the degree to which that protection would be lost if the non-occurrence was excused.

Alderman v. Davidson 一 A party’s waiver of their right to enforce one provision of a contract may waive their right to enforce another provision if their waiver intended such a consequence as indicated by their conduct. Even if the party did not intend to waive their right, they may be estopped if their conduct induced the other party into reasonably believing that strict compliance was not necessary.

Zwick v. Lodewijk Corp. 一 A clause in a lease providing that a lessor’s failure to act on any default does not waive the right to declare a default is not effective. A non-waiver provision may be considered evidence of non-waiver, but it itself can be waived. Additionally, the statute of frauds does not bar an oral modification to extend the time for performance, including payment.

Taylor v. Caldwell 一 Impossibility may excuse a borrower or bailee from returning a bailed item if performance becomes impossible because the item has perished, so long as the impossibility is not due to the fault of the borrower or bailee.

Hewitt v. Biscaro 一 Only a governmental order or promulgation of a governmental regulation rises to the level of an event that may excuse performance based on impracticability. A verbal instruction is insufficient. A party may not assert that a condition excuses them from performance if the attempt to avoid performance is not made in good faith and in accordance with fair dealing.

Route 6 Outparcels, LLC v. Ruby Tuesday, Inc. 一 When parties define the contours of a force majeure provision, such contours dictate its application, effect, and scope. A party may not use a force majeure clause to excuse their non-performance when they expressly limited the clause to events beyond the control of the non-performing party. While a global economic downturn is not within a party’s control, their decisions regarding how to cope with the downturn are.

Krell v. Henry 一 When a party’s purpose for contracting is frustrated by the non-occurrence of a condition, the occurrence of which was a basic assumption of the contract, the party’s duties may be discharged so long as the non-occurrence was not their fault.

Remedies for breach of contract protect each party’s expectation interests, reliance interests, and restitution interests. Parties often include liquidated damages provisions in their contracts, under which they agree on damages in event of a breach ahead of time. Parties are also entitled to limit available remedies by including provisions such as damages caps.

Carr-Gottstein Properties v. Benedict 一 A liquidated damages provision is valid when actual damages would be difficult to calculate, so long as the agreed amount is a reasonable forecast of likely damages and not so disproportionate an amount as to be punitive in nature.

O’Brian v. Langley School 一 A party opposing a liquidated damages provision may be entitled to conduct discovery to prove that the provision is an unenforceable penalty.

Nohe v. Roblyn Development Corp. 一 A court has discretion to compare the damages fixed in a liquidated damages provision to actual damages and choose not to enforce the liquidated damages provision if the difference between the provision and actual damages is unreasonable.

Ash Park, LLC v. Alexander & Bishop, Ltd. 一 When a contract for the sale of land is breached, a court has discretion to order specific performance, regardless of whether it is demonstrated that a legal remedy would be inadequate.

Reed Foundation, Inc. v. Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, LLC 一 A court may order specific performance even if this would offend aesthetic considerations.

i.Lan Systems, Inc. v. Netscout Service Level Corp. 一 Specific performance may be appropriate when goods are unique or irreplaceable as a practical matter, but specific performance may not be appropriate when it is the contract itself that is unique, rather than the goods.

Grossinger Motorcorp, Inc. v. American National Bank and Trust Co. 一 A liquidated damages provision is only enforceable if the parties intended to agree to settle monetary damages in advance. Therefore, an optional liquidated damages clause is unenforceable because it shows that the parties did not have the necessary intent.

Groves v. John Wunder Co. 一 When a construction contract is breached, the correct measure of damages is the cost of remedying the defect, rather than the difference in value between the land as it was before the contract was made and the land as it would have been had the contract been performed.

Peevyhouse v. Garland Coal & Mining Co. 一 A breach of contract claim cannot give rise to a damages award so substantial that it results in economic waste. If a breach is merely incidental to the main purpose of the contract, and the economic benefit that would result from full performance would be grossly disproportionate to the cost of performance, damages may be limited to the diminution in value to the premises due to the non-performance.

Parker v. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. 一 The measure of damages for wrongful discharge is the salary that the employee would have earned, minus the amount that the employer affirmatively proves that the employee has earned or with reasonable effort might have earned from other employment. However, the employer must show that the other employment was comparable or substantially similar to the job from which the employee was discharged.

R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. v. Vanguard Transp. Systems, Inc. 一 A non-breaching party’s duty to mitigate damages is suspended when they reasonably rely upon the breaching party’s assurances that they would correct the issue. When reliance is not reasonable, a non-breaching party retains their duty to mitigate, even though the breaching party could conceivably cure the breach.

Hadley v. Baxendale 一 Damages for breach of contract may be any damages naturally arising from the breach or any damages that the parties could have reasonably contemplated at the time when the contract was made.

Manouchehri v. Heim 一 The measure of direct damages for breach of warranty is the difference between the value of the goods as warranted and the value of the goods actually delivered. This value may reasonably be approximated by the cost to repair the goods. In instances in which goods are irreparable or non-replaceable, a court may use other proper grounds to approximate the value.

This outline has been compiled by the Justia team for solely educational purposes and should not be treated as an independent source of legal authority or a summary of the current state of the law. Students should use this outline as a supplement rather than a substitute for course-specific outlines.

Last reviewed August 2023

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Contract Law

Contract-wrapped property.

  • Danielle D’Onfro

Uber Technologies Inc. v. Heller

Supreme Court of Canada Targets Standard Form Contracts.

Williams v. Medley Opportunity Fund II, LP

Third Circuit Rules that Tribal Payday Lenders Cannot Compel Arbitration.

Doe v. University of the Sciences

Third Circuit Holds Pennsylvania Law Guarantees a “Real, Live, and Adversarial Hearing.

Zuckerman v. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Second Circuit Holds that the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act of 2016 Does Not Preclude Application of Laches Defenses to Nazi-Looted Art Recovery Claims.

Revealing Secrecy Tools

  • Mark Fenster

Pseudo-Contract and Shared Meaning Analysis

  • Margaret Jane Radin
  • Robin Bradley Kar

Heimer v. Companion Life Insurance Co.

Sixth Circuit Invokes Contra Proferentem as Default Rule for Resolving Ambiguous Contract Provisions.

DirecTV, Inc. v. Imburgia

North carolina ass’n of educators, inc. v. state.

Repeal of Tenure Violates Tenured Teachers' Constitutionally Protected Contractual Rights.


Contract Law Case Notes

Contract cases.

This page provides a list of cases cited in our  Contract Law Lecture Notes , as well as other cases you might find useful. It also provides links to case-notes and summaries.

  • Abbey National Bank plc v Stringer
  • Adams v Lindsell
  • Addis v Gramophone
  • AEG (UK) Ltd v Logic Resource Ltd
  • African Export-Import Bank v Shebah Exploration & Production Company Ltd
  • Ailsa Craig Fishing Co Ltd v Malvern Fishing Co Ltd
  • Ajayi v RT Briscoe (Nigeria) Ltd
  • Alan Auld Associates v Rick Pollard Associates
  • Albert v MIB
  • Alder v Moore
  • Alderslade v Hendon Laundry Ltd
  • Alfred Dunhill v Sunoptic
  • Alfred McAlpine Construction Ltd v Panatown Ltd
  • Ali v Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Allcard v Skinner
  • American Cyanamid Co v Ethicon Ltd
  • Anglia Television v Reed
  • Antonio v Antonio
  • Arbuthnott v Fagan
  • Arcos Ltd v EA Ronaasen & Son
  • Arnold v Britton
  • Ashfaq v International Insurance Co of Hannover
  • Atlantic Baron, The
  • Attorney General of Belize v Belize Telecom Ltd
  • Atlas Express Ltd v Kafko
  • Attica Sea Carriers v Ferrostaal Poseidon Bulk Reederi GmbH (The Puerto Buitrago)
  • Attorney General v Blake
  • Attrill v Dresdner Kleinwort Ltd
  • Attwood v Small
  • Avery v Bowden
  • AXA Sun Life Services Plc v Campbell Martin Ltd
  • Azimut-Benetti SpA v Healey
  • Aziz v Ciaxa d’Estalvis de Catalunya I Manresa (C-226/12)
  • B & S Contracts & Design v Victor Green Publications
  • Baird Textile   Holdings v Marks & Spencer
  • Baker v Black Sea & Baltic General Insurance Co Ltd
  • Baker v Jones
  • Balfour v Balfour
  • Bank of Australasia v Palmer
  • Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) SA v Aboody
  • Bannerman v White
  • Barbudev v Eurocom Cable Management
  • Barclays Bank v Fairclough Building
  • Barry v Davies
  • Barton v Armstrong
  • Bell v Lever bros
  • Bentsen v Taylor Sons
  • Berkeley Community Villages Ltd v Pullen
  • Beswick v Beswick
  • Bieber v Teathers Ltd (In Liquidation)
  • Bisset v Wilkinson
  • Blackpool and Fylde Aero Club v Blackpool BC
  • Blue v Ashley
  • BNY Mellon Corporate Trustee Services Ltd v LBG Capital No 1 Plc
  • Bolton v Madden
  • Bolton v Mahadeva
  • Borrelli v Ting
  • Boulton v Jones
  • BP Exploration Co (Libya) Ltd v Hunt (No 2)
  • BP Refinery (Westernport) Pty Ltd v Shire of Hastings
  • Bradbury v Morgan
  • Brikom Investments Ltd v Carr
  • Brinkibon Ltd v Stahag Stahl GmbH  
  • British Fermentation Products v Compair Reavell
  • British Steel Corp v Cleveland Bridge and Engineering Co Ltd
  • British Westinghouse Electric Co Ltd v Underground Electric Railways Co of London Ltd
  • Britoil plc v Hunt Overseas Oil Inc
  • Brocklehurst’s Estate , Re
  • Brogden v Metropolitan Co
  • BS & N Ltd v Micado Shipping (The Seaflower)
  • Bunge Corporation v Tradax SA
  • Bunge SA v Kyla Shipping Company Ltd
  • Bunge SA v Nidera BV
  • Butler Machine Tool v Ex-Cell-O Corporation
  • BV Nederlandse Industrie Van Eiprodukten v Rembrandt Enterprises
  • Byrne & Co v Leon Van Tien Hoven & Co
  • C&P Haulage v Middleton
  • Cable & Wireless plc v IBM UK
  • Canada Steamship Lines Ltd v R
  • Canary Wharf (BP4) T1 Ltd v European Medicines Agency
  • Car and Universal Finance   Co Ltd v Caldwell
  • Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball
  • Casehub Ltd v Wolf Cola Ltd
  • Cavendish Square Holding BV v Makdessi
  • CCC Films v Impact Quadrant Ltd
  • Central London Property Trust Ltd v High Trees House Ltd
  • Centrovincial Estates plc v Merchant Investors Assurance Company Ltd
  • Chandler v Webster
  • Chapelton v Barry UDC
  • Chappell v Times   Newspapers
  • Chappell v Nestle
  • Chartbrook Ltd v Persimmon Homes Ltd
  • Chudley v Clydesdale Bank Plc
  • CIBC Mortgages plc v Pitt
  • Circle Freight International Ltd v Medeast Gulf Exports Ltd
  • Clarke v Dickson
  • Clea Shipping v Bulk Oil (The Alaskan Trader) (No 2)
  • Clef Aquitaine SARL v Laporte Materials (Barrow) Ltd
  • Clough v London and North Western Railway
  • Cohen v Roche
  • Collier v P & MJ Wright (Holdings) Ltd 
  • Collins v Godefroy
  • Combe v Combe
  • Commission for New Towns v Cooper (GB) Limited
  • Conlon v Simms
  • Co-op insurance v Argyll Stores
  • Cooper v Phibbs
  • Couchman v Hill
  • Couturier v Hastie
  • Cramaso LLP v Ogilvie-Grant
  • Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland NV v Burch
  • Cremdean Properties Ltd v Nash
  • Crossley v Faithful & Gould Holdings Ltd
  • CTI Group Inc v Transclear SA (The Mary Nour)
  • CTN Cash & Carry Ltd v Gallaher
  • Cundy v Lindsay
  • Cunliffe-Owen v Teather & Greenwood
  • Currie v Misa
  • Cutter v Powell
  • D & C Builders v Rees
  • Dakin & Co Ltd v Lee
  • Darlington BC v Wiltshier Northern Ltd
  • Daulia Ltd v Four Millbank Nominees Ltd
  • Daventry DC v Daventry and District Housing Ltd
  • Davis   Contractors v Fareham   UDC
  • De Wutz v Hendricks
  • Decro Wall v Practitioners in Marketing
  • Denne v Light
  • Derry v Peek
  • Dick Bentley Productions Ltd v Harold Smith (Motors) Ltd
  • Dickinson v Dodds
  • Dimmock v Hallett
  • Dimskal Shipping Co SA v International Transport Workers Federation
  • Director General of Fair Trading v First National Bank
  • Dolphin Maritime & Aviation Services Ltd v Sveriges Angfartygs Assurans Forening
  • Doyle v Olby
  • Drew v Daniel
  • DSND Subsea Ltd v Petroleum Geo Services ASA 
  • Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co Ltd v Selfridge Ltd
  • Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co Ltd v New Garage & Motor Co Ltd
  • Dunnachie v Kingston-upon-Hull City Council
  • Durham Tees Valley Airport Ltd v Bmibaby Ltd
  • East v Maurer
  • Eastwood v Kenyon
  • Ecay v Godfrey
  • Edgington v Fitzmaurice
  • Edwards v Skyways Ltd
  • Edwinton Commercial Corporation v Tsavliris Russ Ltd (The Sea Angel)
  • El Awadi v Bank of Credit and Commerce International SA
  • Emery v UCB Corporate Services
  • Entores Ltd v Miles Far East Corporation
  • Errington v Errington Woods
  • Ertel Bieber v Rio Tinto
  • Esso Petroleum v Commissioners of Customs & Excise
  • Esso Petroleum v Mardon
  • Esso Petroleum Ltd v Niad Ltd
  • Evia Luck, The
  • Experience Hendrix LLC v PPX Enterprises Inc
  • Falcke v Gray  
  • Farley v Skinner
  • FC Shepherd v Jerrom
  • Felthouse v Bindley
  • Fercometal SARL v Mediterranean Shipping Co SA, The Simona
  • Fibrosa Spolka Akcyjna v Fairbairn Lawson Combe Barbour
  • Financings Ltd v Stimson
  • First Plus Financial Group v Hewett
  • First Tower Trustees Ltd v CDS (Superstores International) Ltd
  • Foakes v Beer
  • Foley v Classique Coaches
  • Force India Formula One Team Ltd v Etihad Airways PJSC
  • Foster v Mackinnon
  • Frederick Rose Ltd v William Pim Jnr & Co Ltd
  • Freeth v Burr
  • Frost v Knight
  • FSHC Group Holdings Ltd v GLAS Trust Corp
  • Galoo v Bright Grahame Murray
  • Gamerco SA v ICM/Fair Warning Agency Ltd
  • Gebruder Metelmann GmbH & Co v NBR (London) Ltd
  • Geier v Kujawa, Weston & Warne Bros (Transport) Ltd
  • General Billposting Co v Atkinson
  • George Mitchell v Finney Lock Seeds
  • George Wimpey UK Ltd v VI Components Ltd
  • Gibbons v Proctor
  • Gibson v Manchester City Council
  • Gillespie Bros & Co Ltd v Roy Bowles Transport Ltd
  • Gillespie Bros & Co v Cheney, Eggar & Co
  • Glasbrook Bros Ltd v Glamorgan CC
  • Globalia Business Travel SAU v Fulton Shipping Inc
  • Golden Strait Corporation v Nippon Yusen Kubishika Kaisha (The Golden Victory)
  • Goldsworthy v Brickell
  • Goodchild v Bradbury
  • Goodlife Foods Ltd v Hall Fire Protection Ltd 
  • Gould v Gould
  • Government of Zanzibar v British Aerospace Ltd
  • Grainger & Son v Gough
  • Gran Gelato Ltd v Richliff (Group) Ltd
  • Granatino v Radmacher
  • Grant v Bragg
  • Great Peace Shipping v Tsavliris International
  • Greenhouse v Paysafe Financial Services Ltd
  • Grogan v Robin Meredith Plant Hire
  • Hadley v Baxendale
  • Hammond v Osborn
  • Hannah Blumenthal, The 
  • Hansa Nord, The
  • Hare v Murphy Bros
  • Hare v Nicholl
  • Hardman v Booth
  • Hartley v Ponsonby
  • Hartog v Colin & Shields
  • Harvela v Royal Trust Co of Canada
  • Harvey v Facey
  • Hasham v Zenab
  • Hayward v Zurich Insurance Co Plc
  • Henry Kendall & Sons v William Lillico & Sons Ltd
  • Henthorn v Fraser
  • Heilbut, Symons and Co v Buckleton
  • Heisler v Anglo-Dal Ltd
  • Herne Bay Steamboat v Hutton
  • Heron II, The ( Koufos v Czarnikow Ltd )
  • Heyman v Darwins
  • HIH Casualty and General Insurance Ltd v Chase Manhattan Bank
  • Hill v CA Parsons Ltd
  • Hirachand Punamchand v Temple
  • Hirji Mulji v Cheong Yue Steamship Co Ltd
  • Hochster v De la Tour
  • Hoenig v Isaacs
  • Hollier v Rambler Motors (AMC) Ltd
  • Holwell Securities v Hughes
  • Hong Kong Fir Shipping v Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha
  • Horsfall v Thomas
  • Horton v Horton (No 2)
  • Hounslow LBC v Twickenham Gardens
  • Household Fire & Carriage Accident Insurance Co Ltd v Grant
  • Howard E Perry & Co v British Railways Board
  • Howard Marine v Ogden
  • Hughes v Metropolitan Railway Co
  • Hussey v Eels
  • Hutton v Warren
  • Huyton v Peter Cremer
  • Hyde v Wrench
  • IFR Ltd v Federal Trade Spa
  • Iggleden v Fairview Homes
  • Impact Funding Solutions Ltd v AIG Europe Insurance Ltd
  • Imperial Land Company of Marseilles, ex parte Harris, Re
  • Ingram v Little
  • Interfoto Picture Library v Stiletto Visual Programmes
  • Investors Compensation Scheme Ltd v West Bromwich Building Society
  • Isabella Shipowner SA v Shagang Shipping Co Ltd (The Aquafaith)
  • Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines v. Steamship Mutual Underwriting Association (Bermuda)
  • J Spurling Ltd v Bradshaw
  • Jacobs v Batavia and General Plantations Trust
  • Jackson v Horizon Holidays
  • Jackson v Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Jarvis v Swan Tours
  • John Grimes Partnership Ltd v Gubbins
  • Johnson v Agnew
  • Jones v Daniel
  • Jones v Padavatton
  • Joscelyne v Nissen
  • Joseph Constantine SS Co v Imperial Smelting Corporation Ltd
  • Joseph Travers & Sons Ltd v Cooper
  • Kings Norton Metal v Edridge, Merrett
  • Kleinwort Benson (KB) v Malaysia Mining Corporation BHD (MMC BHD)
  • Kolmar v Traxpo Enterprises
  • Krell v Henry
  • L’Estrange v F Graucob Ltd
  • Laemthong International Lines Co Ltd v Abdullah Mohammed Fahem & Co
  • Lampleigh v Braithwaite
  • LauritzenCool AB v Lady Navigation Inc
  • Law Debenture Trust Corp plc v Elektrim SA
  • Leaf v International Galleries
  • Les Affréteurs Réunis Société Anonyme v Leopold Walford (London)
  • Lewis v Avery
  • Linden Gardens Trust Ltd v Lenesta Sludge Disposals Ltd
  • Little v Courage Ltd
  • Liverpool City Council v Irwin
  • LJ Korbetis v Transgrain Shipping BV
  • Lloyds Bank v Bundy
  • London Export Corporation v Jubilee Coffee Roasting Co Ltd
  • London Joint Stock Bank Ltd v Macmillan 
  • Lovelock v Franklyn
  • Lowe v Peers
  • Luxor (Eastbourne) v Cooper
  • Mahkutai, The
  • Malik (Deceased) v Shiekh
  • Manchester Diocesan Council for Education v Commercial and General Investments Ltd
  • Maritime National Fish v Ocean Trawlers
  • Marks and Spencer plc v BNP Paribas Securities Services Trust Company (Jersey) Ltd
  • May & Butcher Ltd v The King
  • McArdle, Re
  • McCrone v Boots Farm Sales Limited
  • McCutheon v David MacBrayne Ltd
  • Merritt v Merritt
  • Mersey Steel and Iron Co v Naylor Benzon & Co
  • Mihalis Angelos , The
  • Milward v Earl Thanet
  • Mitchell v Homfray
  • Modahl v British Athletic Federation
  • Monarch Airlines Ltd v London Luton Airport Ltd
  • Monarch Steamship, The
  • Mondial Shipping and Chartering BV v Astarte Shipping Ltd (The Pamela)
  • Moorcock, The
  • Morris-Garner v One Step (Support) Ltd
  • Moschi v Lep Air Services
  • Mountford v Scott
  • Moursi v Doherty
  • MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co v Cottonex Anstalt
  • Multiplex Constructions (UK) Ltd v Cleveland Bridge UK Ltd
  • Museprime Properties Ltd v Adhill Properties Ltd
  • MWB Business Exchange Ltd v Rock Advertising Ltd (Court of Appeal)
  • MWB Business Exchange Ltd v Rock Advertising Ltd (Supreme Court)
  • Nanfri, The
  • National Bank of Greece SA v Pinios Shipping Co
  • National Westminster Bank Plc v Amin
  • National Westminster Bank Plc v Breeds
  • National Westminster Bank v Morgan
  • Nehayan v Kent
  • Newman v Framewood Manor Management Co Ltd
  • New Zealand Shipping Co Ltd v AM Satterthwaite & Co Ltd (The Eurymedon)
  • Nicolene v Simmonds
  • Nisshin Shipping Co Ltd v Cleaves & Co Ltd
  • Nobahar-Cookson v The Hut Group Ltd
  • Notcutt v Universal Equipment Co (London) Ltd
  • Nottingham Building Society v Eurodynamics Systems 
  • O’Sullivan v Management Agency & Music
  • Office of Fair Trading v Abbey National
  • Olley v Marlborough Court
  • Oscar Chess v Williams
  • Ocean Tramp Tankers Corporation v V/O Sovfracht (The Eugenia)
  • Overseas Medical Supplies Ltd v Orient Transport Services Ltd
  • Page One Records v Britton
  • Pagnan Spa v Feed Products Ltd
  • Pakistan International Airlines Corp v Times Travel (UK) Ltd
  • Pao On v Lau Yiu Long
  • Parfitt v Lawless
  • Parker v South Eastern Rly Co
  • ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis
  • Parkinson v College of Ambulance
  • Parsons (Livestock) Ltd v Uttley Ingham & Co Ltd
  • Partridge v Crittenden
  • Patel v Ali
  • Payne v Cave
  • Payzu Ltd v Saunders
  • Peekay Intermark v Australia & New Zealand Banking Group
  • Pell Frischmann Engineering Ltd v Bow Valley Iran Ltd
  • Perry v Sidney Phillips
  • Persimmon Homes Ltd v Ove Arup and Partners Ltd
  • Pesticcio v Niersmans
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v Boots
  • Philips Electronique Grand Publique SA v BSB Ltd
  • Phillips v Brooks
  • Photo Production Ltd v Securicor Transport Ltd
  • Pilkington v Wood
  • Pinnel’s Case
  • Pitts v Jones
  • Pitt v PHH Asset Management Ltd
  • Powell v Brent LBC
  • Price v Strange 
  • Quinn v Burch Bros (Builders) Ltd
  • R&S Pilling (t/a Phoenix Engineering) v UK Insurance Ltd
  • R v HM Attorney-General for England and Wales
  • Radford v De Froberville
  • Raffles v Wichelhaus
  • Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG v Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Rainy Sky SA v Kookmin Bank
  • Ramsgate Victoria Hotel v Montefoire
  • Raphael, The
  • Raymond Burke Motors Ltd v Mersey Docks & Harbour Co
  • Reardon Smith Line Ltd v Hansen-Tangen
  • Redgrave v Hurd
  • Redland Bricks v Morris
  • Regalian Properties v London Dockyard
  • Regus (UK) Ltd v Epcot Solutions Ltd
  • Reichman v Beveridge
  • Reid v Rush Tompkins Group plc
  • Reveille Independent LLC v Anotech International (UK) Ltd
  • Reynolds v Atherton
  • Rice v Great Yarmouth BC
  • Riverlate Properties v Paul
  • Roberts and Co Ltd v Leicestershire
  • Robinson v Harman
  • Robophone Facilities Ltd v Blank
  • Roche v Sherrington
  • Rock Advertising v MWB Business Exchange Centres
  • Rolls Royce Power Engineering plc v Ricardo Consulting Engineers Ltd
  • Roscorla v Thomas
  • Rose & Frank v Crompton Bros
  • Routledge v Grant
  • Royal Bank of Scotland plc v Etridge (No 2)
  • Royscott Trust v Rogerson
  • RTS Flexible Systems Ltd v Molkerei Alois Müller
  • Ruxley Electronics and Construction Ltd v Forsyth
  • Salt v Stratstone Specialist Ltd
  • Scally v Southern Health and Social Services Board
  • Scammell and Nephew Ltd v Ouston
  • Scammell v Dicker
  • Schebsman, Re
  • Schuler AG v Wickman Machine Tools Sales Ltd
  • Scotson v Pegg
  • Scott v Avery
  • Scottish Widows Fund and Life Assurance Society v BGC International
  • Scriven Bros and Co v Hindley and Co
  • Scruttons   Ltd v Midland Silicones   Ltd
  • Selectmove, Re
  • Shadwell v Shadwell
  • Shanklin Pier Ltd v Detel Products Ltd
  • Sharpley v Louth
  • Shaw v Applegate
  • Shell UK Ltd v Lostock Garages Ltd
  • Shirlaw v Southern Foundries (1926) Ltd
  • Shogun Finance v Hudson
  • Siboen & the Sibotre, the
  • Simantob v Shavleyan
  • Simpkins v Pays
  • Skeate v Beale
  • Smith New Court Securities Ltd v Scrimgeour Vickers etc Ltd
  • Smith v Cooper
  • Smith v Hughes
  • Smith v Land & House Property Corp
  • Smith v UMB Chrysler (Scotland) Ltd
  • Societe des Industries Mtallurgiques SA v The Bronx Engineering Co Ltd
  • Societe Generale, London Branch v Geys
  • Soulsbury v Soulsbury
  • Spencer v Harding
  • Spice Girls v Aprilia
  • Spring v National Amalgamated Stevedores and Dockers Society (no 2)
  • St Albans City and DC v International Computers
  • Starsin, The
  • Statoil ASA v Louis Dreyfus Energy Services (The Harriette N)
  • Stena Line Ltd v Merchant Navy Ratings Pension Fund Trustees Ltd
  • Stevenson, Jacques v McLean
  • Stewart Gill Ltd v Horatio Myer & Co Ltd
  • Stilk v Myrrick
  • Stocznia Gdynia SA v Gearbulk Holdings Ltd
  • Stocznia Gdanska SA v Latvian Shipping Co
  • Storer v Manchester City Council
  • Street v Coombes
  • Sudbrook Trading Estate v Eggleton
  • Suisse Atlantique Societe d’Armement SA v NV Rotterdamsche Kolen Centrale
  • Suleman v Shahsavari
  • Sumpter v Hedges
  • Super Servant Two, The
  • Swynson Ltd v Lowick Rose LLP
  • Tamplin v James
  • Tartsinis v Navona Management Co
  • Taylor v Caldwell
  • Tekdata Interconnections Ltd v Amphenol Ltd
  • Telegraph Despatch and Intelligence v McLean
  • Telford Homes Ltd v Ampurius Nu Homes Holdings Ltd
  • Tenax Steamship Co Ltd v The Brimnes
  • Thomas v BPE Solicitors
  • Thomas v Thomas
  • Thornton v Shoe Lane Parking
  • Thomas Witter Ltd v TBP Industries Ltd
  • Tinn v Hoffman
  • Tito v Waddell (No 2)
  • Tool Metal Manufacturing v Tungsten
  • Transfield Shipping Inc v Mercator, The Achilleas
  • Transocean Drilling UK Ltd v Providence Resources Plc
  • Trollope & Colls Ltd v North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital
  • Trump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd v The Scottish Ministers
  • Tsakiroglou & Co Ltd v Noblee Thorl GmbH
  • Turner v Green
  • Tweddle v Atkinson
  • UCB Corporate Services Ltd v Williams
  • Universal Cargo Carriers Corp v Citati  
  • Universe Sentinel, The
  • Universe Tankships v ITWF
  • Valilas v Januzaj
  • Vaswani v Italian Motors (Sales & Services)
  • Victoria Laundry (Windsor) Ltd v Newman Industries Ltd
  • Vitol SA v Norelf Ltd (The Santa Clara)
  • Walford v Miles
  • Walters v Morgan
  • Ward v Byham
  • Warner Bros Pictures Inc v Nelson
  • Warren v Mendy
  • Wates Ltd v GLC
  • Watford Electronics Ltd v Sanderson CFL Ltd
  • Watts v Morrow
  • Wellesley Partners LLP v Withers LLP
  • Wells v Devani
  • Whincup v Hughes
  • White & Carter v McGregor
  • William Sindall plc v Cambridgeshire County Council
  • Williams v Bayley
  • Williams v Carwardine
  • Williams v Roffey Bros
  • Williams v Williams
  • Willis Management (Isle of Man) Ltd & Anor v Cable and Wireless plc
  • With v O’Flanagan
  • WJ Alan & v El Nasr Export and Import
  • WJ Tatem v Gamboa
  • Wood v Capita Insurance Services Ltd
  • Woodar Investment Development Ltd v Wimpey Construction UK Ltd
  • WN Hillas v Arcos
  • World Wide Fund for Nature v World Wrestling Federation Entertainment
  • Wright v Carter
  • Wrotham Park Estate Co v Parkside Homes
  • Yam Seng Pte Ltd v International Trade Corp Ltd
  • Yukong Line Ltd of Korea v Rendsburg Investments Corporation of Liberia
  • 118 Data Resource Ltd v IDS Data Services Ltd

a case study of contract law

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a case study of contract law

  • 28 Apr 2022
  • Research & Ideas

Can You Buy Creativity in the Gig Economy?

It's possible, but creators need more of a stake. A study by Feng Zhu of 10,000 novels in the Chinese e-book market reveals how tying pay to performance can lead to new ideas.

a case study of contract law

  • 26 Jun 2020
  • Working Paper Summaries

Weak Credit Covenants

Prior to the 2020 pandemic, the leveraged loan market experienced an unprecedented boom, which came hand in hand with significant changes in contracting terms. This study presents large-sample evidence of what constitutes contractual weakness from the creditors’ perspective.

a case study of contract law

  • 13 May 2019

The Unexpected Way Whistleblowers Reduce Government Fraud

Even unfounded allegations by whistleblowers can force government contractors to renegotiate their terms, say Jonas Heese and Gerardo Perez Cavazos. Open for comment; 0 Comments.

  • 23 Jan 2018

Transaction Costs and the Duration of Contracts

When buyers transact with sellers, they select not only whom to transact with but also for how long. This paper develops a model of optimal contract duration arising from underlying supply costs and transaction costs. The model allows for the quantification of transaction costs, which are often unobserved, and the impact of these costs on welfare.

  • 20 Oct 2015

Internalizing Global Value Chains: A Firm-Level Analysis

Manufacturing activities that used to be performed in close proximity are increasingly fragmented across firms and countries. This paper provides strong evidence that considerations driven by contractual frictions critically shape firms' ownership decisions along their value chains.

  • 27 Feb 2006

When Rights of First Refusal Are a Bad Deal

Contracts that include a right of first refusal usually benefit the holder of that right. But not always. New research by professor Alvin E. Roth and colleague Brit Grosskopf explains when it's wise to say no. Closed for comment; 0 Comments.

  • 03 Mar 2003

Top Ten Legal Mistakes Made by Entrepreneurs

The life of a startup can be precarious, a wrong turn disastrous. Harvard Business School professor Constance Bagley discusses the most frequent legal flops made by entrepreneurs, everything from hiring the wrong lawyer to puffing up the business plan. Closed for comment; 0 Comments.

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There are 7 modules in this course

American Contract Law I (along with its sister course Contracts II) provides a comprehensive overview of contract law in the United States. The course covers most of the key concepts found in a first year law school class. Each lecture is based on one or more common-law cases, integrating legal doctrines with policy discussions. The course also covers key sections from the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), which governs the sale of goods.

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to understand: Formation: how a valid and enforceable contract is created, including concepts such as offer, acceptance, consideration, and promissory estoppel.


What's included.

12 videos 13 readings 5 quizzes 1 plugin

12 videos • Total 145 minutes

  • Welcome to Contracts • 5 minutes • Preview module
  • Default Rules, Altering Rules and Mandatory Rules • 13 minutes
  • Hammer v. Sidway • 12 minutes
  • Ricketts v. Scothorn • 11 minutes
  • Bolin Farms v. American Cotton Shippers • 7 minutes
  • The Ex Ante and Ex Post Perspectives • 14 minutes
  • Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture - "Installment Loan" • 16 minutes
  • Enforcement of Money Judgments • 9 minutes
  • Property Rules and Liability • 8 minutes
  • Jacob & Youngs v. Kent • 15 minutes
  • Sullivan v. O'Connor - "Nose Job" • 22 minutes
  • The Coase Theorem • 7 minutes

13 readings • Total 155 minutes

  • About the Course • 10 minutes
  • The Uniform Commercial Code • 5 minutes
  • The Restatement (2nd) of Contracts • 5 minutes
  • Pre Course Survey • 10 minutes
  • Filling Gaps in Incomplete Contracts (recommended) • 10 minutes
  • UCC §§1-102, 1-103, 2-102 • 10 minutes
  • Hamer v. Sidway Case Decision • 15 minutes
  • Ricketts v. Scothorn Case Decision • 15 minutes
  • Bolin Farms v. American Cotton Shippers Case Decision • 15 minutes
  • Williams v. Walker- Thomas Furniture Case Decision • 15 minutes
  • Property Rules, Liability Rules and Inalienability • 10 minutes
  • Jacob & Youngs v. Kent Case Decision • 15 minutes
  • Sullivan v. O’Connor Case Decision • 20 minutes

5 quizzes • Total 140 minutes

  • Ricketts v. Scothorn • 30 minutes
  • Bolin Farms v. American Cotton Shippers • 30 minutes
  • Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture • 30 minutes
  • Jacob & Youngs v. Kent • 30 minutes
  • Introduction • 20 minutes

1 plugin • Total 1 minute

  • Module Feedback • 1 minute


7 videos 7 readings 6 quizzes 1 plugin

7 videos • Total 83 minutes

  • Kirksey v. Kirksey - "Moving Inconvenience" • 11 minutes • Preview module
  • Langer v. Superior Steel - "Repudiated Pension" • 11 minutes
  • Nominal Consideration, The Seal and the Model Written Obligation Act • 13 minutes
  • Cohen v. Cowles Media Co. "Journalist's Source" • 11 minutes
  • Apfel v Prudential-Bache Securities "Worthless Computer Technique" • 8 minutes
  • Jones v Star Credit • 11 minutes
  • Alaska Packers' Assn' v. Domenico - "Sailors' Salary Increase" • 16 minutes

7 readings • Total 61 minutes

  • Isaac Kirksey v. Angelico Kirksey Case Decision • 10 minutes
  • William F. Langer v. Superior Steel Corp. Case Decision • 10 minutes
  • Nominal Consideration, The Seal and The Model Written Obligation Act • 10 minutes
  • Dan Cohen v. Cowles Media Co. Case Decision • 10 minutes
  • Robert C. Apfel v. Prudential–Bache Securities, Inc. • 10 minutes
  • Clifton Jones v. Star Credit Corp. Case Decision • 10 minutes
  • Alaska Packers’ Association v. Domenico Case Decision • 1 minute

6 quizzes • Total 180 minutes

  • Kirksey v. Kirksey • 30 minutes
  • Nominal Consideration • 30 minutes
  • Apfel v. Prudential-Bache Securities • 30 minutes
  • Jones v. Star Credit Corp. • 30 minutes
  • Alaska Packers' Association v. Domenico • 30 minutes
  • Consideration and its Substitutes the Consideration Doctrine I • 30 minutes


6 videos 7 readings 7 quizzes 1 plugin

6 videos • Total 68 minutes

  • McMichael v. Price - "Sand Requirements" • 7 minutes • Preview module
  • Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon - "Output Contract for Product Endorsements" • 10 minutes
  • Bailey v. West - "Bascom's Folly" • 18 minutes
  • Mills v. Wyman - "Moral Obligation" & Webb v. McGowin - "Rescuer’s Recompense" • 9 minutes
  • Allegheny College v. Nat. Chautauqua County Bank - "Donation" • 9 minutes
  • Statute of Frauds • 13 minutes

7 readings • Total 72 minutes

  • W. M. McMichael v. Harley T. Price Case Decision • 10 minutes
  • Otis F. Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff–Gordon Case Decision • 10 minutes
  • Howard E. Bailey v. Richard E. West Case Decision • 2 minutes
  • Second Restatement § 86 • 5 minutes
  • Daniel Mills v. Seth Wyman • 10 minutes
  • Joe Webb v. N. Floyd and Joseph F. McGowin Case Decision • 15 minutes
  • Allegheny College v. National Chautauqua County Bank of Jamestown Case Decision • 20 minutes

7 quizzes • Total 180 minutes

  • McMichael v. Price • 30 minutes
  • Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon • 30 minutes
  • Bailey v. West • 30 minutes
  • Mills v. Wyman • 30 minutes
  • Allegheny College v. Nat. Chautauqua County Bank • 30 minutes
  • Statute of Frauds • 30 minutes
  • Consideration and its Substitutes the Consideration Doctrine II • 0 minutes


4 videos 5 readings 4 quizzes 1 plugin

4 videos • Total 42 minutes

  • Embry v Hargadine - "Manifestation of Mutual Assent" • 13 minutes • Preview module
  • Lucy v. Zehmer - "Joking Offer" • 7 minutes
  • Lefkowitz v. Great Minn. Surplus Store - "Ambiguous Offer" • 8 minutes
  • Leonard v. Pepsico - "Harrier Jet Ad" • 12 minutes

5 readings • Total 70 minutes

  • Embry v. Hargadine, McKittrick Dry Goods Co. Case Decision • 10 minutes
  • UCC §§ 2-204, -205. -206, & -207 • 20 minutes
  • W.O. Lucy v. A.H. Zehmer • 10 minutes
  • Morris Lefkowitz v. Great Minneapolis Surplus Store Case Decision • 10 minutes
  • John Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc. Case Decision • 20 minutes

4 quizzes • Total 64 minutes

  • Lucy v. Zehmer • 30 minutes
  • Lefkowitz v. Great Minneapolis Surplus Store • 4 minutes
  • Leonard v. Pepsico • 30 minutes
  • The Bargain Relationship I • 0 minutes


5 videos 5 readings 5 quizzes 1 plugin

5 videos • Total 65 minutes

  • Ever-Tite Roofing v. Green - "Performance as Acceptance" • 12 minutes • Preview module
  • Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball - "Medical Warrantee" • 9 minutes
  • Ammons v. Wison & Co. - "K.C. Shortening" • 9 minutes
  • Beneficial National Bank, USA v. Obie Payton - "Unilateral Credit Card Change" • 16 minutes
  • Adams v. Lindsell - "Misdirected Missive" • 17 minutes

5 readings • Total 65 minutes

  • Ever–Tite Roofing Corp. v. G.T. Green Case Decision • 15 minutes
  • Louisa Elizabeth Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. Case Decision • 15 minutes
  • R.L. Ammons v. Wilson & Co. Case Brief • 10 minutes
  • Beneficial National Bank, U.S.A v. Obie Payton Case Decision • 15 minutes
  • Adams v. Lindsell Case Decision • 10 minutes

5 quizzes • Total 120 minutes

  • Ever-Tite Roofing v. Green • 30 minutes
  • Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball • 30 minutes
  • Ammons v. Wilson & Co. • 30 minutes
  • Beneficial National Bank, USA v. Obie Payton • 30 minutes
  • The Bargain Relationship II • 0 minutes


4 videos 4 readings 5 quizzes 1 plugin

4 videos • Total 47 minutes

  • Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway v. Columbus Rolling-Mill - "The Mirror Image Rule" • 10 minutes • Preview module
  • Textile Unlimited, Inc. v. A . BMH and Company - "Yarn Battle of Forms" • 14 minutes
  • The Gateway Cases - "Acceptance by Non-Return" • 9 minutes
  • Specht v. Netscape - "No Clickwrap" • 13 minutes

4 readings • Total 60 minutes

  • Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway Co. v. Columbus Rolling–Mill Co. Case Decision • 10 minutes
  • Textile Unlimited, Inc. v. A. .BMH and Company, Inc. Case Decision • 15 minutes
  • Rich Hill v. Gateway 2000 & William Klocek v. Gateway Case Decisions • 20 minutes
  • Christopher Specht v. Netscape Communications Corporation Case Decision • 15 minutes
  • Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway v. Columbus Rolling-Mill • 30 minutes
  • Textile Unlimited, Inc. v. A. BMH and Company • 30 minutes
  • The Gateway Cases • 30 minutes
  • Specht v. Netscape • 30 minutes
  • The Bargain Relationship III • 0 minutes


4 videos • total 49 minutes.

  • Drennan v. Star Paving - "Mistaken Bid" • 13 minutes • Preview module
  • Raffles v. Wichelhaus - "Peerless Ships" • 8 minutes
  • Hoffman v. Red Owl Stores - "Promised Store" • 15 minutes
  • Dixon v. Wells Fargo - "Unfulfilled Mortgage Modification" • 12 minutes
  • William Drennan v. Star Paving Co. Case Decision • 15 minutes
  • Raffles v. Wichelhaus Case Decision • 10 minutes
  • Joseph Hoffman v. Red Owl Stores, Inc. Case Decision • 15 minutes
  • Frank Dixon v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. • 15 minutes
  • Congratulations! • 10 minutes

4 quizzes • Total 90 minutes

  • Drennan v. Star Paving • 30 minutes
  • Raffles v. Wichelhaus • 30 minutes
  • Dixon v. Wells Fargo • 30 minutes
  • The Bargain Relationship IV • 0 minutes

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a case study of contract law

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Learner reviews

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878 reviews

Reviewed on Feb 23, 2021

Teacher excellent, Course very contraceptive. For short period I get complex information regrading law contracts.

Reviewed on May 2, 2019

This course is an interesting, entertaining, and informative introduction to the prerequisites to contracting. I really enjoyed it and look forward to building on the foundation it provides.

Reviewed on Mar 28, 2021

One of the most intuitive courses I have ever taken. The professor takes complex cases and simplifies them for the viewer's understanding. I am excited to take the second course!


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The Culture of International Arbitration and The Evolution of Contract Law

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The Culture of International Arbitration and The Evolution of Contract Law

7 Case Study 2: The Interpretation of Contracts

  • Published: March 2013
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This chapter presents a case study of international arbitral decision-making in action on a discrete area of contract law. It examines the decisions of international commercial arbitrators when they are called upon to interpret a contract. The chapter begins by putting the issue of contractual interpretation into comparative context, first considering the opposing perspectives that underlie the different interpretive doctrines, then comparing the rules in some of the most commercially important common law and civil law jurisdictions and the major international contract law instruments. Next, it considers whether any general principles of evidence or private law apply to contractual interpretation in international arbitration. Finally, it assesses the published arbitral awards where the tribunal engaged in the interpretation of a contract. The available data suggest that, when it comes to deciding cases of suspension of performance, arbitrators tend to make decisions in a different way than the courts of any country, and to reach results that are more consistent with each other than with the provisions of any national law.

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Contract Law Cases: 21 Leading Case on the Law of Contract

  • Post author: Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC
  • Post published: November 11, 2019
  • Post category: Law Reporting

In today’s post, I will be sharing a list of some of the leading cases on contract law. This is basically to help scholars, lawyers and law students all of the world, find contract law cases so as to enable them consolidate their legal arguments, articles and points in law examinations. If you have been searching for cases to fortify your points in any matter that concerns contract, then search no further. Trust me; this article contains almost all the leading cases on the law of contract.

Leading cases on the law of contract

Nonetheless, before I move to the crux of this article, I would like to share some of basic information about the law of contract with you. This is also very pertinent because it will help you to understand the cases that will be mentioned here wholesomely. So what is a contract?

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Table of Contents

What is a contract?

Contract has been given different definitions by different people. According to Sir Fredrick Pollock , A contract is a promise or set of promises which the law will efforce. More so, the American Law Institute gave an elaborate definition in their paper titled “ Restatement of American Law: Contracts ” when they defined contract as “ a promise or set of promises, the breach of which the law gives a remedy, or performance of which the law in some way recognizes as a duty.” 

In my view, “a contact is an agreement giving rise to obligations which are enforced or recognized by law”. Conversely, it should be noted that while every contract is ultimately an agreement, it is not every agreement that is a contract.

Characteristics of a contract

Below are some of the characteristics of a binding contract:

  • There must be an offer and acceptance (the agreement)
  • There must be an intention to create legal relations
  • There is a requirement of written formalities in some cases
  • There must be consideration (Except if the agreement is under seal)
  • The parties must also have the capacity to contact
  • There must be genuineness of consent by the parties to the terms of the contract
  • The contract must not be contrary to public policy

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Classification of Contract

Latest Contract cases

Basically, contract is classified into Simple contract or Formal contract. The two classifications of contract will be explained explicitly below:

Simple contract:

A simple contract is also called an informal contract. It is a contract, whether writen or oral, which is not under seal. It can also be implied from the conduct of parties. Simple contract are not binding except there is consideration. In a simple or informal contract, only a party who has furnished consideration can bring an action to enforce the contract.

Formal contract:

On the other hand, a formal contract is a contract which is reduced to writing, singed by parties contracting and impressed with a seal. It is also called a specialty contact or a deed. The basic features of a formal contract is to that it must be signed, sealed and delivered. These actions constitute the execution of a deed.

Now that you known what a contract is, the various types of contract and the characteristics of a contract, we will now see some of the leading cases in contract law.

Contact law cases

Below are some of the cases in the law of contract:

Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co

Andrews v hopkinson, fisher v bell, spencer v harding, central london property trust ltd v high trees house ltd, brodgen v metropolitan railway co., lampleigh v braithwaite, roscolar v thomas, stevenson v mclean, eastwood v kenyon, white v bluet, combe v combe, dela bere v pearson, read v dean, bournemouth athletic football club ltd v manchester united football club, tinn v hoffman & co, couturier v hastie.

  • Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co Ltd v Selfridge

Griffith v Brymer

Darkin v lee, startup v macdonald.

Yeah! Those are some of the leading cases in contract law. Nevertheless, as we continue, will be sharing with you the case summary of each of the cases mentioned in the list above with their citations. I enjoin you to read painstakingly so that you will achieve your purpose for reading this work. Now, below is the case summary of the leading cases in the law of contract.

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Citation : [1893] 1 QB 256

The case of Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co is a good illustration of a unilateral contract. In this case, the defendant were proprietors of a medical preparation called “ The Carbolic Smoke Ball” . They advertised in various newspapers and magazines offering to pay €100 to any person who contracted influenza after using the ball three times a day for two weeks.

They added that they had deposited €1,000 at the Alliance Bank, Regent Street, to show their sincerity in the matter. The plaintiff, a lady, used the ball as was advertised and was attacked by influenza. She sued for €100 and the company agured that there was no intention to create legal relations.

The court held in favor of the plaintiff and said that the fact that €1,000 was deposited at the Alliance Bank, shows that there was an intention to create legal relations.

Citation: [1956] 3 All ER 422

The case of Andrews v Hopkinson is one of the contract cases that explains where a collateral contract will fail with the main contract. Apparently, a collateral contract is a preliminary contract which is usually oral and forms the reason or the inducement for the making of another related contract.

In the case of Andrews v Hopkinson, the collateral contract failed with the main contract. Here, a dealer said to the plaintiff, “ It is a nice little bus, I would stake my life on it. You will have no trouble with it. ” The plaintiff entered into a written hire-purchase contract with a finance company. The car was not roadworthy. The court held that the dealer was liable.

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Citation: [1960] 3 All ER 731

The case of Fisher v Bell is a contract case that is usually used to explain the difference between an invitation to treat and an offer. In this case, the respondent, shopkeeper, displayed a knife with a price tag. He was charged for offering to sale a knife contrary to section 1(1) of the Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act 1959 .

The question that arose for determination in court was whether the display of this knife constituted an offer for sale within the meaning in the Restriction of Offensive Weapons Act 1959. It was held by the Court of Appeal that the display was an invitation to offer and so the shopkeeper was not liable.

Citation: [1870] LR 5 CP 561

In Spencer v Harding, the defendant sent out circulars inviting tenders to buy stock. The Plaintiff claimed that the circular was an offer to sell the stock to the highest bidder and that they had sent the highest bid which the plaintiff had refused to accept.

The court held that the circular was an invitation to treat and not an offer. Wiles J said thus: “ It is a mere attempt to ascertain whether an offer can be obtained within such a margin as the seller are willing to accept.”

Citation : [1947] KB 130

The case of Central London Property Trust Ltd v High Trees House Ltd is also one of the leading cases in the law of contract. This case changed the former rule of law in pinnel’s case. The case is usually referred to as the High Trees case or principle of Equitable Estoppel.

In Central London Property Trust Ltd v High Trees House Ltd, the plaintiff least a block of flat to the defendant at a rent of €2,500 per annum in September 1939. In January 1940 the plaintiff agreed in writing to reduce the rent by half because of war condition which had caused many vacancies in the flats. No express limit was set for the operation of this reduction.

From 1940 to 1945 the defendant paid the reduced rent. In 1945, the flats became fully occupied again. The plaintiff’s company then claimed the full rent, suing for rent at the ordinary rate for the last two quarters of 1945.

It was held by Lord Denning that, as agreement for the reduction of rent had been acted upon by the defendants, the plaintiff were estopped in equity from claiming the full rent from 1941 until early 1945 when the flats were fully let.

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Citation: [1877] 2 AC 666

This is one of the contract cases that is offen cited to backup the rule that a contract can be made by conduct. In this case, Brodgen had for many year supplied the defendant company with coal without a formal contract. Brodgen then suggested that the relationship be regularised through a formal contract. Metropolitan’s agent sent a draft agreement to Brodgen who inserted an Arbitrator’s name in the space provided for it, signed it and wrote it away in his drawer and nothing further was done to complete its execution.

Both parties acted on the strength of the terms contained in the draft, supplying and paying for the coal in accordance with its clauses until a dispute arose and Brodgen denied that any binding contract existed between them. The house of Lord’s held that a contract arisen by conduct.

Resent cases on contract law

Citation : [1615] Hob 105

In this case, the defendant, Braithwaite, had killed Patrick Mahume. He then requested the plaintiff to do all he could to obtain a royal pardon for him from the king. To this end, the plaintiff exerted himself and undertook a lot of journeys to and from London, incurring certain expenses.

He succeeded in obtaining the pardon and the defendant promised to pay him the sume of €100 for his trouble and expenses. It was held that the plaintiff was entitled to the sum as his services were procured at the defendant’s previous request an in circumstances in which it was responsible to expect that payment would be made for the services. Accordingly, there was consideration for the defendant’s promise.

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Citation: [1842] 2QB 234

To wholesomely discuss past consideration as a topic in the law of contract, the case of Roscolar v Thomas must be mentioned. In this case, the plaintiff bought a horse from the defendant. After sometime, the defendant promised the plaintiff that it was a sound horse, free from vice. The horse was in fact a vicious horse. The plaintiff sued the defendant for breach of promise.

It was held that the action will fail. If the promise had been given at the time of the sale, it would have been supported by consideration, but since it was given after the sales had taken place, the consideration which the plaintiff furnished was past and he had furnished no new consideration for the defendant’s promise.

Citation: [1880] 5 QBD 346

In Stevenson v McLean, the defendant offered on a Sunday to sell the plaintiff some quantity of iron. The offer was left open till close of business on Monday. On Monday, the plaintiff telegraphed ro ask for information. On that same Monday, at 10:00am, the defendant received a telegram but didn’t reply it. On that same day, the plaintiff accepted the original offer at 1.34pm. At 1.25pm the defendant revoked the offer by telegram. At 1.46pm the plaintiff received telegram of revocation.

On hearing the matter, the court held that the plaintiff first telegram was not a counter offer but a mere inquiry, so that the offer was still open when the plaintiff accepted it. The plaintiff had accepted the offer before the defendant’s revocation was communicated to him.

Citation: [1840] 11 Ad & El 438

Eastwood v Kenyon is the case in contract that is used to explain that moral obligation does not amount to consideration. In this case, the death of John Sutcliff left his infant daughter as his sole heiress. The plaintiff, as the girl’s guardian, spent money on her education and for the benefit of the estate, and the girl, when she came of age, promised ro reimburse him.

She then married the defendant, who also promised to pay. The plaintiff sued the plaintiff on this promise and the court dismissed the action, reiterating the rule that moral obligation does not amount to consideration. The court noted that if the notion is accepted it would destroy the requirement of consideration as the law requires an additional element to the defendant’s promise. That element is consideration and it cannot be a mere moral obligation.

Citation: [1853] 23 LJ Ex 36

The case of White v Bluet explains the position that consideration in contract need not to be adequate by sufficient. In this case, a sun owned his father a sum of money. Subsequently, the sun harassed his father with frequent complaints about the way his father distributed his wealth among his children which was unfavorable to him.

The son then alleged that his father promised him that if he would stop complaining, he (the father) would discharge him from the debt and he stopped. The question before the court was whether this action of the son constituted consideration for the father’s promise. The court held that it did not because:

The father had a right to distribute his property in any manner he liked and so the son had no right to complain in the first place.

The son had no right to complain; thus is abstaining from doing what he had no right to do constituted no consideration for the father’s promise.

Citation : [1951] 2 KB 213

This is a contract case where the court held that consideration is an essential element of a binding contract. Here, a wife started proceedings against the husband for divorce and she obtained a decree nisi against the husband. The husband then promised to pay her an annual allowance of €100 free of tax as a permanent maintenance for her.

After the decree nisi was made absolute, the husband never kept his promise. Thereupon the wife brought an action against him to make him pay the money. The court held that she didn’t offer consideration for the husband’s promise.

Citation : [1908] 1 KB 280

In this case, the defendant placed an advertisement in the newspaper to give financial advice to readers. The plaintiff wrote, asking for the name of a good stockbroker. The editor negligently recommended someone who was an undischarged bankrupt.

On the strength of the editor’s advice, the plaintiff sent some money to the broker, who misappropriated it. The plaintiff brought an action in court seeking to recover his money from the the newspaper. The issue in court was whether the plaintiff furnished any consideration.

The court considered that many people bought newspaper because of that publication. It further held that the plaintiff had furnished consideration for the contract. The defendant could and did benefit from the plaintiff buying the newspaper and the plaintiff had also consented to the publication of his question in the defendant’s newspaper if the defendants wished to do so.

Citation: [1949] 1 KB 188

In the case of Read v Dean, the plaintiff hired the defendant’s moto launch for a holiday with his family on the river Thames. Two hours after he had set sail, the launch caught fire.

The firefighting equipment provided in the launch was out of order and the plaintiff suffered serious injuries and lost all his belongings on board. It was held that there must be implied into the contract of hire an undertaking by the defendant to make the launch as fit for the purpose of the hiring as reasonable care could make it, and that the defendant was therefore liable.

Citation: Vol Xi (2) Student Law Report 22

The case of Bournemouth Athletic Football Club Ltd v Manchester United Football Club is another popular case in the law of contract. In this case, a transfer agreement was made between the two football clubs. Under it, a footballer was to be transferred from Bournemouth to Manchester united for €194,445 in addition, a further sum of €27,777 was to be paid to Bournmouth if the footballer scored 20 goals in the first-team competitive matches. From October to December 1972, the football scored 4 goals in 11 matches. In December, Manchester United appointed a new manager who re-organised the team.

As a result, the footballer was transferred in early 1973 to Westham United Football club for €170,000. The plaintiff argued that the contract of the defendant in transferring the footballer was in Breach of the contract because there was an implied term in the contract that the footballer was entitled to a reasonable opportunity to score the goals. The court of appeal held that such term must be implied in order to give business efficacy to a contract.

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Citation: [1873] 29 LT 271

The court in Tinn v Hoffman & Co held that a cross-offer does not constitute a contract.

The facts of the case are as follows: the defendant wrote to the plaintiff offering to sell him 800 tons of iron at 69s per ton. The plaintiff wrote to the defendant, on the same day offering to buy 800 tons of iron at 69s per ton. The letters crossed in the post and the court held that there was no contract.

Citation: [1856] 5 HLC 673

This is the leading contract law case that stipulates the position of the law where there is a mistake as to the existence of the subject matter of the contract. In Couturier v Hastie, a man bought a cargo of corn which he and the seller thought at the time of the contract, to be in transit from Salonica to England, but which, unknown to them had become fermented and had already been sold by the master of the ship to a Tunis. It was held that the contract was void and the buyer not liable for the price of the cargo.

In the words of Lord Cranworth , “ The contract plainly imports that there was something which was to be sold at the time of the contract and something to be purchased. No such thing existing; I think the Court of Exchequer Chamber has come to the only reasonable conclusion upon it . ..”

Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co Ltd v Selfridge Ltd

Citation: [1915] AC 847

This is one of the leading contract cases that is associated with the principle of privity of contract. The principle states that only a party to a contract can enjoy right or suffer burdens partaining to the contract.

In Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co Ltd v Selfridge Ltd, the plaintiff sold tyres to a certain dealer on the understanding that he would not re-sell below a certain price and that in the event of a sale to customers the dealer would extract the same promise from them.

The dealer sole the tyres to Selfridge who agreed to observe the restrictions and to pay Dunlop €5 for each Tyre they sold below the restricted price. Selfridge in fact sold the tyres below the restricted price to a customer and Dunlop brought an action against them to enforce the promise to pay €5 per tyre, for each breach.

It was held that while Selfridge had committed to breach the contract between him and the dealer, Dunlop was not a party to this contract and had furnished no consideration for the defendant’s promise.

Citation: [1903] 19 TLR 434

This is one of the cases under Mistake as a topic in contract law. In Griffith v Brymer, a contract was made for the hire of a room on 26 June 1902, the day fixed for the coronation of King Edward VII, for the purpose of viewing the coronation procession.

At the time the contract was made, it was unknown to the parties, the decision to postpone the coronation had already been taken. Since the contract was merely for the hire of the room on 26 June to view the coronation procession, performance was impossible. The contract was held to be void.

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Citation: [1916] 1 KB 566.

This contract case explains the principle that where a party who performed his obligation defectively but substantially can sue for the contract price, but he will be liable to have deducted from the price the cost of making good the deficiency.

In Darkin v Lee, the plaintiff contracted to carry out repairs on the defendant’s house. He carried out the repairs but the work was not done in accordance with the contact’s specification. It was held that the plaintiff was entitled to be paid the agreed sum subject to a deductive equal to the cost of putting the defect right.

Citation: [1843] 6 M & G 593.

The rule of law in Startup v Macdonald is that; where the obligation under a contract is to deliver goods or render services, tender of such goods and services which is refused, discharges the party making the tender from any further obligation and enables him to sue for a breach of contract.

In Startup v Macdonald, the plaintiff agreed to sell 10 tonnes of oil to the defendant within the last 14 days of March. Pursuant to this agreement, the plaintiff delivered the oil to the defendant at 8:30pm on 31 March, a Saturday, but the defendant refused to accept the delivery because of the lateness of the hour.

It was held that the plaintiff made a valid tender of the goods and therefore discharged his obligations under the contract and the defendant was therfore liable in damages for non-acceptance of the goods.

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Final words

Those are some of the leading contract law cases you should know. Hope this article was able to give you exactly what you wanted. If you have any case you were really expecting to be in this list but was not mentioned here, kindly let us know using the comment section. Accordingly, share you comments and questions in the comment section too. I will be very glad to give you a reply.

a case study of contract law

Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.

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Problems in Contract Law: Cases and Materials, Tenth Edition

  • Charles L. Knapp
  • Nathan M. Crystal
  • Harry G. Prince
  • Danielle K. Hart
  • Joshua M. Silverstein

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Problems in Contract Law: Cases and Materials , by Charles L. Knapp, Nathan M. Crystal, Harry G. Prince, Danielle K. Hart, and Joshua M. Silverstein, includes cases with notes and explanatory text, additional commentary, essay, and short-answer problems, and multiple-choice review questions for each chapter. The cases selected are a balance of traditional and contemporary that reflect the development and complexity of contract law. Explanatory notes and text place the classic and newer decisions in their larger legal context. Questions and problems provide opportunities to practice core legal skills and encourage students to explore the relationship between theory and practice. This successful book is well known for approaching contract law and theory from multiple perspectives and using a variety of contractual settings. Adaptable for instructors with different pedagogical philosophies, Problems in Contract Law can easily be used in teaching by traditional case analysis, through problem-based instruction, or using theoretical inquiry.

Buy a new version of this textbook and receive access to the Connected eBook with Study Center on CasebookConnect, including: lifetime access to the online ebook with highlight, annotation, and search capabilities; practice questions from your favorite study aids; an outline tool and other helpful resources . Connected eBooks provide what you need most to be successful in your law school classes.

New to the 10th Edition:

  • Five new principal cases that reflect advances in or improved statements of contract law.
  • One restored principal case ( Oppenheimer & Co. v. Oppenheim, Appel, Dixon & Co. ) that provides valuable perspectives on a fundamental area of contract law.
  • Twelve new problems, including several shorter problems, to provide more review options for teachers and students and to add contemporary fact patterns.
  • Eight new tables and flow charts to assist students with the conceptual structure of complicated legal subjects.
  • Editing of note and text material to reduce length without affecting coverage and to capture new legal developments.
  • Reorganization of text and comment material to focus comments primarily on historical developments, allowing professors greater flexibility in assigning or deleting comments.
  • Student accessibility to deleted cases from prior editions through Casebook Connect, allowing professors the further flexibility of continuing to easily assign cases for which they have a particular preference.

Professors and students will benefit from:

  • The authors’ emphasis on making the material accessible for both students taking and professors teaching the course - rejecting a hide-the-ball approach.
  • The continued appeal to professors with various teaching methodologies: traditional, problem-oriented, theoretical, and practical.
  • The comprehensive nature of the contents allows professors the flexibility to teach their students the basics or conduct a more in-depth analysis of a given topic.
  • The continued mixture of classic and contemporary cases.
  • Review questions at the end of each chapter that are primarily designed for students to perform self-assessments of their grasp of the material. Answers with explanations are included in an appendix within the book.

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Contract Law in America: A Social and Economic Case Study

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Construction Contract Case Study: Legal Insights & Analysis

Top 10 legal questions about construction contract case studies, exploring the intricacies of construction contract case studies.

Construction contracts are complex legal agreements that govern the relationships and responsibilities of parties involved in construction projects. Disputes these contracts the point of battles that have implications. In this blog post, we will delve into a construction contract case study to understand the intricacies involved and the lessons that can be learned.

The Case Study: Jones v. Smith Construction Ltd.

Let`s consider a hypothetical case study where Jones, a property owner, hired Smith Construction Ltd. To build a complex. The construction contract clearly outlined the scope of work, timeline, and payment terms. However, as the project progressed, disputes arose over delays, cost overruns, and the quality of work.

As a result, Jones withheld a portion of the payment, leading Smith Construction Ltd. To file a for breach of contract. Case went to and after of battles, a was in of Jones, citing breach of contract and workmanship.

Key Learnings from the Case Study

Implications for construction contracts.

Based on the case study, it is evident that construction contracts play a pivotal role in shaping the outcomes of construction projects. Serve as for rights and managing and recourse in case of disputes. Therefore, it is imperative for all parties involved in construction projects to pay meticulous attention to the drafting and execution of contracts.

Construction contract case studies offer valuable insights into the nuances of construction law and the implications of contractual agreements. By analyzing real-world scenarios, we can glean important lessons that can guide future contract negotiations and project management strategies. It is essential for legal practitioners, construction professionals, and property owners to stay abreast of such case studies to navigate the complex landscape of construction contracts effectively.

Construction Contract Case Study

Introduction: This construction contract case study involves the legal relationship between a construction contractor and a property owner. The contract outlines the terms and conditions of the construction project, including the scope of work, payment schedule, and dispute resolution process.

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[case brief] top 5 cases on the validity of contract.

a case study of contract law


⮚ Citation: [1919] 2KB 571

⮚ Introduction: Landmark judgement on the intention to create a legal relationship as an essential element of contract.

⮚ Parties: Mr. Balfour &amp; Mrs. Balfour

⮚ Brief facts: Mr. &amp; Mrs. Balfour use to live in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), a  happily married couple. They went on a vacation to England and during  their stay Mrs. Balfour was diagnosed with ‘Rheumatic Arthritis’. The  doctor advised her proper rest. Her health could deteriorate, with the  change in weather, therefore she stayed back in England whereas her  husband returned back to Ceylon. As Mr. Balfour promised to send her  £30 every month until she stayed back. He regularly made the due monthly  allowance as promised but subsequently, stopped sending the amount.  Mrs. Balfour sued him for the payment of monthly payments.

⮚ Issue(s): Was there a valid contract between Mr. Balfour &amp; Mrs. Balfour? 

Justice Sargent held that the said contract between the husband &amp; wife was  valid and binding as Mr. Balfour was under obligation to support his wife.  The prior monthly transfers were enough to form the basis of the contract  between Mr. &amp; Mrs. Balfour and the consent of Mrs. Balfour to this  arrangement constituted a valid consideration. Mr. Balfour went to the  Court of Appeal against the judgment of the Division Bench.

⮚ Decision: The appellate court held that the arrangement between  Mrs and Mr Balfour was merely a social agreement and no a contract. a  domestic matter and Mr. Balfour had ‘no intention to create a legal  obligation’. The court also pointed out that, Though Mr. Balfour made a  promise to pay £30 per month and Mrs. Balfour agreed to it but there was  no intention to bound by legal consequences on behalf of Mr. Balfour.  The Court also held that such types of agreements can’t be a contract  because usually in such agreements between the spouse, either of the  parties do not intend to bound themselves by legal consequences.  Court also made the argument that if the courts will they’ll start to enforce  such intimate arrangements made between couples treating them as a legal  contract then the courts shall be flooded by with matrimonial disputes.


⮚ Citation: 1913 40 ALJ 489  

⮚ Introduction: Acceptance of the offer as an essential element of a valid  contract.  

⮚ Parties: Lalman Shukla &amp; Gauri Dutt

⮚ Brief: Gauri Dutt’s nephew went missing. He therefore  sent all his servants in search of the absconding child, different places. One  of his servants, Lalman Shukla was sent to Haridwar from Cawnpore  (Kanpur) to search him, his travelling allowances and other expenses were  paid by the master Gauri Dutt. When he returned back to Kanpur after  getting succeeded in finding his master’s nephew, he was given two  sovereigns along with Rs. 20. During the period while everyone was  searching master’s nephew and the plaintiff was also searching him,  defendant circulated pamphlets stating that whosoever finds the boy gets a  reward of Rs. 501. The plaintiff had no idea about the reward and did not  asked for anything further and continued his service for six months. After  that, he filed a suit for the recovery of reward from his master, he claimed  for Rs. 499 out of the money that was offered in the handbill. Then, the  lower court dismissed the plaintiff’s plea.

⮚ Issue(s):  

1. Does the arrangement amounts to a valid contract?

2. Is Mr. Lalman entitled to the reward amount?

3. Decision of the subordinate court was appropriate?

⮚ Decision: Court held that, none of the essential ingredients required to for  a for an agreement to be enforceable were not fulfilled in the situation. The  primary need for an agreement to be enforceable is the ‘knowledge and  assent of the particular offer. Here, he was not aware about the offer and  had no assent about the act. Thus, it can be concluded that acceptance is  the essence to contract and the plaintiff was just fulfilling his obligation by  searching the missing boy.

Also, this is a leading case wherein the important principle of General  Offer was laid down. In such case, a contract could be made only  with the person who has the knowledge about the offer and accepts it by  acting accordingly to fulfil the conditions mentioned in the offer.


⮚ Citation: 1893 A.C. 552

⮚ Introduction: invitation to an offer is not an offer  

⮚ Parties: Facey &amp; Harvey  

⮚ Brief facts: Mr. Facey was a real estate owner who was interested to sell  his property which was in Jamaica. Harvey who was interested in buying  that property sent a telegraph asking he would sell his property to  Harvey on lowest cash price to be paid. Replying to his telegraph  Facey replied to his second question only. Facey’s telegraph read, lowest  price for Bumper Hall Pen is £900. To which Harvey later replied, he  agreed to buy Bumper Hall Pen which was asked for and he also asked  Facey to send him property deed so that he could get early possession.  Facey denied to sell his property to Harvey at that price. Later, Harvey  filed a case in the court of appeal, Harvey won the case. Facey who was  unhappy appealed against the decision and case went to Privy Council  which upheld the trial court’s decision.

⮚ Issue(s): Was there any offer from Facey to sell the property for £900?

⮚ Decision: It was held by the Privy Council that; it would be a contract only  if Facey had replied to Harvey’s third telegraph. Harvey took Facey’s  response to his question as an offer to sell at the named price by him.  There was no commitment to sell the property because the offer which was  made by the Harvey by replying to the invitation of an offer was not  accepted. Thus, there was no contract between the two.  


⮚ Citation: 1903 30 Cal 539

⮚ Introduction: competency or Ccapacity of the parties to contract /  Minor’s contract

⮚ Parties involved: Dharmodas Ghose &amp; Mohori Bibee

⮚ Brief facts: Plaintiff, Dharmodas Ghose was in need of money  therefore, he pledged his property and asked for loan of Rs. 20,000 from  the moneylender Brahmo Dutt. The debt amount given was less than Rs.  20,000. Brahmo Dutt who was acting as attorney at that time on the  behalf of the moneylender, knew that Dharmodas Ghose was a minor.  Plaintiff filed a suit against Brahmo Dutt stating that the mortgage deed  should be null and void because he was a minor at the time of contract and  hence, it should be cancelled. Later, Brahmo Dutt passed away and the  appeal was prosecuted by his executors. And it was contended by the  defendant that plaintiff should not be excused as he misrepresented his age  to him. Even if the deed is void, the debt that was advanced to him i.e., Rs.  10,500 should be repaid.

1. Was the mortgage deed void?

2. Deed signed by defendant was voidable or not?

3.Was the defendant entitled liable to receive the mortgage money?

⮚ Decision: The Privy Council held that the; person who mortgaged the  property was infant at the time of execution.  So, the contract or mortgage deed which was made between the plaintiff  and the defendant was not merely voidable but it was void. It also held that  any contract with a minor or an infant is ‘void ab-initio’. Since minors are  incompetent to contract hence, such contracts are void and  invalid in the eyes of law. The minor is not obliged to pay back the amount  that was advanced to him as he was not bound by the promise that was  executed in contract.

Minor is a person who has not attained or is below the age of  18 years.

And any contract entered into with a minor shall be  be null and void (void ab initio) owing to his incapacity. Dealings done by the minors without the knowledge  and consent of their custodians or parents shall not be liable to them.  


⮚ Citation: 2 H. &amp; C. 906

⮚ Introduction: consensus ad idem- “meeting of minds”

⮚ Parties: Raffels &amp; Wichelhaus

⮚ Brief facts: Mr. Raffels and Mr. Whichelhaus had a contract that Mr.  Raffels would send him 125 bales of Surat cotton via a ship named  peerless from Bombay. But there were two ships with the name peerless.  The same name of two different ships mislead them and they agreed upon  two different ships in their minds, which means there was no meeting of  mind while binding the contract. When the ship containing cotton reached  Liverpool in December, Wichelhaus refused to receive the shipment and  to pay for it. In his understanding the consignment was late as he mis-  understood that the ship earmarked with nomenclature as some other  which was supposed to reach in the month of October. Both of them had  mis-understanding in reference to ship names. Later, due to this delay  according the defendant who did not received the order was sued for the  breach of contract by the plaintiff (Raffels).

⮚ Issue(s): Was there an enforceable contract between the parties?  

⮚ Decision: The court held that the contract was vague and hence, it was not  an enforceable contract. For binding of a contract, there should be meeting  of minds between the parties.In this case, there was no consensus  ad-idem. At the time they had entered into this contract, there  was ambiguity on the issue as to which ship shall carry the cotton to be  delivered. Since, it was a well-documented deed and not a fraud and  hence, it should not be interrupted by extrinsic evidence.

This case briefs has been prepared by Ms. Urvi Yadav, who was an intern at MyLawman & edited by Ms. Samreen Ahmed, Research Assistant, ARIL, MyLawman.

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The field of Contract Law is vast and touches nearly every aspect of our daily lives. In this introductory article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to understanding and applying key Contract Law principles. You will delve into the Contract Law definition, learn about the role of Contract Law solicitors in negotiations and dispute resolution, and explore the different aspects of this complex legal area. We will then dive into the key aspects of Contract Law, covering consideration , common Contract Law cases, and addressing breaches of contract and remedies available. This information will provide a solid foundation whether you are a student, a professional, or simply interested in learning about Contract Law. Next, we will focus on learning Contract Law, with targeted information for students, guidance on navigating Contract Law cases, and tips for honing your Contract Law skills. By the end of this article, you will have a well-rounded understanding of Contract Law and its applications in various sectors and situations.

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Introduction to Contract Law

Contract Law is a crucial aspect of our day-to-day lives, as it governs our interactions and agreements with others. From simple transactions such as buying a cup of coffee to more complex agreements like renting a house, Contract Law lies at the heart of it all. To better understand this subject, this article will delve into the principles of Contract Law, its definition and the role of Contract Law solicitors .

Principles of Contract Law

The principles of Contract Law revolve around the guidelines and rules that govern the creation, interpretation, and enforcement of contracts. In order to provide you with a solid foundation in this subject, we will cover some of the major principles:

  • Offer and acceptance: A contract is formed when one party makes an offer, and the other party accepts it. The offeror must communicate their intentions and the terms of the agreement, while the offeree must express their acceptance of those terms.
  • Consideration : Each party to the contract must provide something of value (consideration) to the other party. Consideration can be in various forms, such as money, goods, services or even a promise to do or refrain from doing something.
  • Intention to create legal relations : The parties must intend to create a legally binding agreement. This intention is usually presumed in commercial agreements, but may be more difficult to establish in social or domestic arrangements.
  • Capacity: All parties to the contract must have the legal capacity to enter into the contract. For example, minors, individuals with mental impairments, and intoxicated individuals may not have the capacity to contract.
  • Legality: The purpose of the contract must be legal and not contrary to public policy. Contracts that involve illegal activities or violate public interest are unenforceable.

Contract Law is based on the principle of 'party autonomy', which implies that parties are free to decide their own terms and conditions, as long as they do not violate any legal provisions or public policy.

Contract Law Definition

Contract Law can be defined as the body of legal rules and principles governing the formation, interpretation, and enforcement of agreements between two or more parties. In essence, it enables parties to make legally enforceable promises and sets out the remedies available in case of breach.

A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties, which sets out their respective rights and obligations. To be valid, a contract must have a clear offer, acceptance, consideration, and an intention to create legal relations .

Contract Law has its origins in the common law system and is heavily influenced by historical legal principles and judicial decisions. In addition, statutes and regulations, such as the Sale of Goods Act and the Consumer Rights Act, also play a pivotal role in shaping modern Contract Law.

Role of Contract Law Solicitors

Contract Law solicitors play an important role in ensuring that parties to a contract understand their rights and obligations and that the contract complies with the applicable laws. Some of the key responsibilities of Contract Law solicitors include:

  • Drafting contracts: Solicitors often prepare and review contracts for their clients, ensuring that the stipulated terms are clear, legally enforceable, and in line with their clients' interests.
  • Negotiating contracts: Solicitors can also help clients negotiate the terms and conditions of contracts, seeking to strike a balance between protecting their clients' interests and reaching a mutually beneficial agreement with the other party.
  • Advising on contractual disputes: If a dispute arises between parties to a contract, solicitors can provide expert advice on the best course of action, including negotiation, mediation or litigation.
  • Representing clients in court: In cases where legal action becomes necessary, Contract Law solicitors can represent their clients in court, arguing their case and seeking appropriate remedies on their behalf.

Imagine you are starting a small business and need to enter into various agreements with suppliers, landlords, and employees. A Contract Law solicitor can help you draft legally binding contracts, negotiate suitable terms, and protect your interests should any disputes arise. Their expertise in this area can save you time, money, and potential legal headaches in the long run.

Key Aspects of Contract Law

There are various aspects of Contract Law that are essential to the formation, interpretation and enforcement of contracts. Some of the key aspects to focus on include consideration, common cases that arise in Contract Law, and the remedies available for a breach of contract . Understanding these aspects will help you grasp the intricacies of this area of law.

Consideration in Contract Law

Consideration is a fundamental element in the formation of a contract. It refers to the mutual exchange of value between the parties, making the promises legally binding. Basically, it ensures that both parties stand to gain or lose something in the agreement. Without consideration, an agreement may not be legally enforceable. In this section, we will dive deep into the concept of consideration by examining its various types, elements, and principles.

  • Executory consideration: This type of consideration occurs when one party promises to perform a future act in exchange for the other party's promise. For example, a promise to deliver goods in the future in return for a promise to pay later.
  • Executed consideration: Executed consideration refers to the situation where one party has already performed their part of the agreement, and the other party is now obligated to fulfill their promise. For instance, when a person has completed a service and is now awaiting payment.
  • Past consideration: Past consideration refers to the situation where an act was performed before the promise was offered. Generally, past consideration is not recognized as valid consideration in Contract Law, but there are some exceptions, such as requests made by the promisor.
  • It must be provided by the promisee or a third party.
  • It must have some value, even if it is minimal or intangible.
  • It must have been bargained for, meaning it has been mutually agreed upon by the parties.
  • The 'sufficiency but not adequacy' principle: It means that consideration must have some value in the eyes of the law, but the court won't question whether it’s proportionate or adequate to the promise received.
  • Privity of contract: Generally, only the parties to the contract can enforce its terms. This principle suggests that third parties cannot demand the enforcement of a contract they are not a direct part of, even if they were intended to benefit from it. The Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999, however, creates an exception to this principle in some situations.
  • Pre-existing duties: If a party is already obligated to perform an act under another contract or by law, performing that same act cannot constitute valid consideration for a new promise.

Common Contract Law Cases

In the realm of Contract Law, several types of cases often arise. Understanding these common scenarios can help you recognize potential issues and protect your interests in contractual dealings. The following are examples of common Contract Law cases:

  • Misrepresentation : This occurs when one party provides false or misleading information to induce the other party into entering the contract. Misrepresentation can be fraudulent (intentional), negligent (due to the lack of reasonable care), or innocent (unintentional). If proven, this may lead to the contract being voidable, and the aggrieved party could seek damages or rescission.
  • Mistake: A mistake is an error made by one or more parties while entering into a contract. Mistakes can be unilateral (made by only one party) or mutual (made by all parties). Depending on the nature and significance of the mistake, it can make the contract void or voidable, leading to remedies such as rescission or reformation.
  • Undue influence : Undue influence occurs when one party exerts improper pressure or influence over another party, causing them to enter into a contract against their will. This might be seen in relationships where there is a power imbalance, such as employer-employee or caregiver-dependent relationships. Contracts formed under undue influence can be set aside.
  • Frustration: Frustration happens when an unexpected event occurs after the contract is formed, making performance impossible or fundamentally altering the nature of what has been contracted for. Examples include the destruction of objects essential for performance or changes in legal regulations. In cases of frustration, the contract may be discharged, and the parties released from their obligations.

Breach of Contract and Remedies

A breach of contract occurs when one party fails to fulfill their contractual obligations . Breaches can be complete or partial, material or immaterial, and can result from a failure to perform on time, a failure to perform in accordance with the agreed terms, or a total repudiation of the contract. Depending on the severity and nature of the breach, various remedies may be available to the aggrieved party.

  • Complete breach: This occurs when one party fails to perform their entire contractual obligation. It entitles the innocent party to seek remedies for their loss.
  • Partial breach: A partial breach occurs when there is some performance under the contract, but it falls short of complete fulfillment. Remedies for partial breaches may include damages for the unperformed portion.
  • Material breach: A material breach happens when one party fails to perform a contract term that is fundamental to the agreement. It entitles the innocent party to terminate the contract and claim damages.
  • Immaterial breach: An immaterial breach occurs when one party fails to perform a contract term that is not fundamental to the agreement. The innocent party may be entitled to claim damages but cannot terminate the contract.
  • Damages: Monetary compensation awarded to the injured party to place them in the position they would have been in if the contract had been performed.
  • Specific performance : A court order that requires the defaulting party to perform their contractual obligations . This remedy is typically only granted in circumstances where damages are insufficient or the subject matter of the contract is unique.
  • Rescission: The cancellation of the contract, which restores the parties to their pre-contractual positions. Rescission may be granted in cases of misrepresentation, duress , or undue influence.
  • Injunction : A court order that restrains a party from committing a breach of contract or compels them to comply with the terms of the agreement.

Learning Contract Law

As a law student or professional, developing expertise in Contract Law is crucial for your overall understanding of legal principles and your ability to offer practical and relevant advice to clients. In this section, we dive into the specific aspects of learning Contract Law, including studying as a student, navigating Contract Law cases, and honing your skills in this essential area.

Contract Law for Students

Whether you are pursuing a law degree or a career in a related field, understanding Contract Law is vital. As a student, you will need to develop a thorough knowledge of the principles, terminology, and concepts within this subject area. To help you on this journey, consider focusing on the following:

  • Study materials: Familiarise yourself with textbooks, casebooks, and academic articles produced by experts in Contract Law. These resources will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter, as well as guidance on interpreting cases and legislation .
  • Case studies: Delving into Contract Law cases can provide valuable insights into how the legal principles are applied in real-life scenarios. By studying leading cases, you can develop a robust understanding of the reasoning behind judicial decisions and the evolution of Contract Law over time.
  • Legislation : Gain a solid grasp of the various statutes, regulations, and legislators that govern the formation and enforcement of contracts, such as the Sale of Goods Act, the Consumer Rights Act, and the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act.
  • Legal journals: Reading academic articles and reviews in legal journals can provide in-depth analysis and commentary on contemporary Contract Law issues. This can help you stay up-to-date with the latest developments and debates within the field.
  • Classroom discussions: Engaging in group discussions and debates with your fellow students can expand your understanding of Contract Law principles and allow you to consider alternative perspectives and interpretations.
  • Moot court competitions: Participating in moot court competitions allows you to practice your Contract Law skills in a simulated courtroom environment. This can help you improve your legal reasoning, oral advocacy, and teamwork skills, as well as your understanding of the subject matter.

Navigating Contract Law Cases

As a student or practitioner of Contract Law, it is essential to understand how to approach and navigate complex legal cases. Building strong analytical, research, and problem-solving skills will enhance your ability to interpret cases and apply the relevant legal principles. Consider these strategies to effectively navigate Contract Law cases:

  • Identifying legal issues: Start by carefully reading the case facts and identifying the pertinent legal issues that need to be addressed. Look for any contractual disputes, misrepresentations, or breaches that might emerge from the case.
  • Applying legal principles: Once you have identified the legal issues at hand, apply the relevant Contract Law principles to the case. This may involve examining the formation, interpretation, or enforcement of the contract and considering how legal principles such as offer, acceptance, consideration, and contractual capacity apply to the case facts.
  • Using precedents: Utilize relevant case law to support your analysis and arguments. Find precedential cases that have addressed similar legal issues and analyze how they were decided. Identifying patterns in judicial decisions can assist in predicting the possible outcomes of your case and help you formulate compelling arguments.
  • Researching legislation: Be sure to reference any applicable legislation that governs the formation, performance, or termination of contracts in your case analysis. This can include laws such as the Sale of Goods Act, the Consumer Rights Act and other industry-specific regulations that impact contractual arrangements.
  • Employing critical thinking: Develop your ability to think critically about the facts of the case, the legal issues involved, and the relationship between the two. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of each party's arguments and consider any potential counterarguments or alternative interpretations.
  • Communicating effectively: Craft clear, concise, and persuasive written and oral arguments that demonstrate your understanding of the case, the applicable Contract Law principles, and the reasoning behind your conclusions. Effective communication is essential for success in both academic and professional legal settings.

Honing Contract Law Skills

Enhancing your Contract Law skills is a continuous process that will benefit you throughout your academic and professional career. By focusing on the following key areas, you can refine your abilities and increase your confidence in this essential field:

  • Legal research: Develop knowledge of relevant legal databases, libraries, and other resources that can help you locate pertinent case law and legislation. Cultivating strong research skills will enable you to efficiently and effectively gather the necessary information to analyze and understand Contract Law cases.
  • Legal analysis: Strengthen your ability to apply legal rules and principles to case facts and determine the likely outcome. This includes assessing the credibility of parties' arguments, considering precedent, anticipating counterarguments and developing persuasive reasoning to support your conclusions.
  • Oral advocacy: Enhance your oral advocacy skills by participating in moot court competitions, debates, and presentations. Practice forming concise and compelling arguments, as well as responding to questions and objections from judges , peers, or clients.
  • Writing: Improve your legal writing abilities by drafting memoranda, case briefs, essays, and contracts. Focus on conveying complex legal concepts in a clear, organized, and persuasive manner, while following proper citation formats and maintaining a professional tone.
  • Client communication: Learn how to effectively communicate with clients and identify their concerns and needs. This includes the ability to translate complex legal concepts into everyday language, empathize with clients' situations, and provide practical legal advice based on your analysis of their case.
  • Networking: Build relationships within the legal community by attending events, conferences, and workshops related to Contract Law. Networking will help you establish connections with fellow professionals, stay updated on industry trends, and potentially open doors for career opportunities.

Contract Law - Key takeaways

Contract Law operates under party autonomy, applies to legally binding agreements between two or more parties, and requires key elements like offer, acceptance, consideration, and intention to create legal relations.

Five main principles of Contract Law: Offer and acceptance, consideration, intention to create legal relations, capacity, and legality.

Consideration contract law involves the mutual exchange of value between parties, such as money, goods, services, or promises, in order to make the contract legally enforceable.

Common contract law cases include misrepresentation, mistake, undue influence, and frustration – each impacting the contract’s enforceability and leading to various remedies such as damages, specific performance , rescission, or injunction .

Contract Law solicitors play crucial roles in drafting, negotiating, advising on contractual disputes, and representing clients in court, ensuring compliance with applicable laws and protecting clients' interests.

Frequently Asked Questions about Contract Law

--> what is contract law, --> what is acceptance in the law of contract, --> what is consideration in contract law, --> what is an offer in the law of contract, --> how is a contract formed in law, test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards.

What are the five essential elements of a valid contract?

What does "consideration" refer to in the context of a contract?

Which parties may lack the legal capacity to enter a contract?

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Offer and acceptance, consideration, intention to create legal relations, capacity, and legality.

What does "consideration" refer to in the context of a contract?

Consideration refers to the exchange of value between the parties involved in a contract, such as goods, services, money, or a promise.

Minors, individuals with mental disabilities, bankrupt individuals, and companies acting outside the scope of their authority.

What is the role of free consent in a valid contract?

Free consent ensures both parties agree to the contract voluntarily and with full understanding of the implications, making the contract legally binding and enforceable.

Why is certainty an essential element in a valid contract?

Certainty is essential in a valid contract because definite and clearly specified terms are needed to make the contract enforceable and provide clarity to both parties' obligations and expectations.

How does possibility of performance affect a contract's validity?

The possibility of performance is crucial because a contract is valid only if its terms can be practically fulfilled. If the contract terms are impossible to perform, the contract becomes void.


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