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Construction of Contracts

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Construction of Contracts

Interpretation, Implication and Rectification



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The Construction of Contracts: Interpretation, Implication and Rectification by Gerard McMeel
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This exciting new practitioner-orientated text provides a clear and comprehensive account of the legal principles and doctrines which come into play whenever the parties disagree about the meaning and effect of the contractual words. Most commercial transactions, from the supply of goods of services to the sale of a business, are reduced to writing. In most cases this entails that the deal is recorded in clear and certain terms for the parties to perform. Nevertheless written contracts are abundant with disputes about the meaning and effect of particular words and phrases. Although the common law principles and techniques of construction are of long ancestry, they have recently come to greater prominence as judges have self-consciously sought to modernise the approach to the interpretation of contractual instruments. This work provides a new and refreshed account of the principles involved, focusing on the practitioner's needs, tackling modernisation head on and equipping readers with the necessary means to avoid pitfalls in contractual provisions. The coverage extends to related rules and doctrines, including rectification and implication of terms, and consideration of the status of the controversial 'parol evidence rule.' The book also considers the nature of effect of particular species of contractual provision, including warranties and indemnities, exemption clauses, 'force majeure' clauses and 'entire agreement' clauses.

Table of Contents

PART I: THE GENERAL PART; 1. Principles and Policies; 2. Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives; 3. The Objective Principle of Construction; 4. Internal Context: The Whole Contract Approach; 5. External Context: Surrounding Circumstances, 'Matrix' and 'Parol Evidence'; 6. Standard Form Contracts, Public Policy and the Realms of Strict Construction and Strict Compliance; 7. Presumptions; 8. Maxims; 9. New Horizons: Good Faith, Contractual Discretions, and Human Rights; PART II: RELATED DOCTRINES; 10. Implication by Law: General Default Rules; 11. Implication in Fact: Ad hoc Gap-fillers; 12. Custom and Usage; 13. Technical and Legal Language; 14. Formation and Certainty; 15. Incorporation of Terms; 16. Parties, Third Party Effects and Clauses Precluding Assignment; 17. Rectification and Correcting Mistakes through Construction; 18. Common Assumptions, Estoppel by Convention, Estoppel by Deed; 19. Construction and Mistake as a Vitiating Factor; PART III: PARTICULAR CONTRACTUAL PROVISIONS; 20. Conditions, Warranties, and Indemnities; 21. Exemption Clauses; 22. Change of Circumstances and 'Force Majeure' Clauses; 23. Modification of Remedies: Express Termination, Liquidated Damages and No Set Off Clauses; 24. The Integrity of the Instrument: 'Entire Agreement' and 'Non-reliance' Clauses; PART IV: RULES RELATING TO WRITTEN CONTRACTS; 25. The Status of Instruments: Forgeries, Deliberate Alteration, Non est Factum, and Shams; PART V: CONSTRUCTION AND PRACTICE; 26. Evidence: Documents, Originals and Copies

Author Biography

Gerard McMeel is Professor of Law at the University of Bristol and writes widely on contract law and commercial and financial legal matters. He is a graduate of Brasenose College, Oxford University. Gerard is a barrister at Guildhall Chambers in Bristol and specializes in both commercial and financial disputes. He is also a Door Tenant of Quadrant Chambers, a leading commercial set in London. Gerard combines an academic interest in commercial and financial law with an active private practice in the field. This work on contractual interpretation proceeds from earlier work in the field, and is in part the result of lecturing on the subject to lawyers across England and Wales.
Release date NZ
March 22nd, 2007
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Oxford University Press
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