Covers up to the end of Tort law
Contract law vs. Tort law
-In tort law, society makes an objective determination about your conduct that makes you liable.
-In contract law, parties design their own liability, individuals decide what their rights and obligations
are. A “moral obligation” based on a promise
-A contract is legally binding, so you invoke the power of the state to enforce it. So what makes it
independent form the state?
-If contract law is based on promise and individual freedom then it is based on the notion of
individualism. You are a “free agent”. However, the law interferes with contract law by adjusting
-You can not treat people as a means to an end; you must treat them as an end themselves, to protect
the dignity of the person.
-Contracts involve obligations for the future, binding. “Trust” evokes moral obligation, invites reliance.
-Contract law involves the initial bargain that is made, people must obey their initial commitments. Not
purely ‘economic self-interest’.
-It may seem economically efficient for someone to breach a contract and pay the fines, but that is
recognised in contract law as “efficient breach”. You can be fined, etc
What is a promise worth? How do we measure damages in contract law?
-Expectation damages: parties should, or will be compensated for their expectations from the contract,
or the losses that are expected to occur if the party breaches their obligations
-Example: you buy something in an antique shop, but want to return it later. The storeowner can
actually sue you for not fulfilling your contract with the vendor. If he/she sells it later for less than what
you promised, he/she can sue you for the difference.
-Example: you buy a bolt in Home Hardware and it fails to hold something up or together, there is no
expectation to pay for your liability (i.e. the damages caused by the defective bolt). Knowledge
changes the liability because it makes you more independent in the issue
-Example: Delivery company hired to deliver a stove to a trade show, but it never showed up. Sued for
delivery charges and hotel fees. Damages not awarded for potential losses because you can not prove
what your expectation was for participating in the trade show. (Does not undermine expectation
damages, but sometimes can not be calculated.)
-Contract law reflects the free choice of the people, moral obligation, justifies enforcement…
Offereor- who makes the offer
Offeree- who accepts/declines offer
Promisee-One to whom a promise has been made
Promisor-The maker of the promise
Case Study: Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain vs. Boots Cash Chemists
-Not a contract case, but resolved on contract principles
-A “self-serve” drugstore. This was unsettling to other people in the pharmaceutical society. Society
claimed that Boots Cash Chemists was selling drugs in an illegal manner. (Drug sales not supervised by
-When you put something on a shelf to be selected by a customer, you make an offer. The offer is
accepted when the customer selects the item off the shelf.
The flaw: the customer is forced to buy the object as soon as he/she picks it up off the shelf. Not
“Invitation to treat”- object available, and then the customer offers a purchase and the cashier
accepts/rejects the sale. Therefore, they were not in violation of the legislation.
Case Study: Williams vs. Carwardine (1833)
-Defendant’s brother was killed after leaving a tavern. Reward notice was published. Money to be paid
by the defendant. Plaintiff was married to the man who killed him (apparently he was very abusive). At
the time, the law stated that you are “not a compellable witness against your spouse”.
-Plaintiff was granted the reward money because she completed her obligation. She felt morally
compelled to tell the authorities about him, so the defendant appealed the decision on the basis that her motive was not part of the obligation. Judge ruled that motive has no effect on whether or not she
should get the money.
Case Study: R. vs. Clarke
-Bunch of outlaws in Australia. Government issued a reward for anyone with information about these
people. If you belonged to this gang