This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Law Notes Contract Law Notes

Implied Terms And Construction Of Terms Theory Notes

Updated Implied Terms And Construction Of Terms Theory Notes

Contract Law Notes

Contract Law

Approximately 1511 pages

From the AuthorContract law notes fully updated for recent exams at Oxford and Cambridge. These notes cover all the LLB contract law cases and so are perfect for anyone doing an LLB in the UK or a great supplement for those doing LLBs abroad, whether that be in Ireland, Hong Kong or Malaysia (University of London).

These were the best Contract Law notes the director of Oxbridge Notes (an Oxford law graduate) could find after combing through dozens of LLB samples from outstanding law students ...

The following is a more accessible plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Contract Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Implied Terms

Justification for implied terms -e.g. necessity; wider considerations of policy; to give effect to partiesunexpressed intent

  1. Terms implied by statute

  • Precise reason depends on particular statute:

  1. give effect to presumed intentions of parties

  2. reduce uncertainty by enacting a default rule out which parties can contract out of

  3. protect weaker party in the transaction

  • E.g. s12 – 15 SGA 1979, supply of goods, hire purchase contracts etc. protects the buyer by providing minimum floor of rights + placing considerable limits on the seller’s right to contract out of those terms (can’t exclude as again consumer; can against business if reasonable)

  • Lord Bingham in Phillips Electronique Grand PubliqueSA v British Sky Broadcasting – courts won’t ordinarily hesitate to imply into a contract of unseen goods that they should be of satisfactory quality b/c hard to imagine a trade conducted on some other terms.

  • Hard but not impossible!A landlord doesn’t give implied undertaking that premises leased will be fit for occupation, no implied term that house is fit for habitation or any particular purpose, caveat emptor rule (now longer operative) in 19th cent.

  • On that basis, unlikely to be based on presumed intentions but rather to protect what are perceived to be legitimate expectations of buyers in sale of goods contracts esp. b/c can’t contract out off them!

  1. Terms implied by custom

  • Unwritten customs & usages of merchants is the reason why commercial lawyers must be responsive to changes & continue questioning whether particular doc, despite having been previously ruled non contractual, may now be contractual b/c of different circs b/w parties & generally [Debate to be viewed in context of int. commercial arbitration]

  • B/c of different interpretations which people put on meaning/content of custom, businesses operating in areas of business/finance normally tend to have public a code of rules;e.g. ICC (internationally on banking, insurance, int. trade& transport). In English law operation of customs depends on express or implied incorporation into contracts (v. often will be the latter – e.g. banks too important to be left to courts).

  1. Terms implied by courts

  • In fact – to give effect to unexpressed intentions of the parties

  • Traditional test – necessity

  • In law – all particular contracts of that type b/c of nature of the contract rather than intentions

  • Test is less stringent – unclear but b/w reasonableness & necessity

  1. Gives effect to presumed intentions of parties

  2. Court’s view of reasonable expectations of the parties

  1. Collins -economic analysis: courts should provide a set of default rules to govern transactions in absence of express terms allowing parties to save transaction costs by not having to negotiate every detail

  1. But any party w/sufficient resources draftsa set of terms to suit his purposes.

  2. On this basis, courts would imply terms which parties would have agreed on but for transaction costs – doesn’t accord w/ case law e.g. Liverpool CC v Irwin

  3. Model reasoning for courts’ selection of implied terms rests on incorporation of fair & practical allocation of risks. E.g. introduction of implied terms to employment contracts reflect the views about fair treatment of employees & risk of losing the job.

Conclusioneconomic analysis = misleading description. Through implication of terms courts achieve fair & practical allocation of risks ultimately rests on court’s view of parties’ reasonable expectations

  1. Lord Steynno gen. duty of good faith in English law, so need to supplement written contracts. Justification = give effect to reasonable expectations of parties.

  1. implied by usage of trade/commerce – assumption is that they’re usually taken for granted & not spelled out in writing

  2. implied in fact – ad hoc gap fillers b/c expectation of party would often be defeated otherwise. Legal test – necessity courts shouldn’t supplement unless it’s necessary to give effect to parties’ reasonable expectations. Though it’s a myth to say that it’s inferred from their intentions.

  3. implied by law – operate as default rules. Broader approach than in (b). Court must take consider reasonableness in laying down the scope of terms to be implied. The function is to provide a reasonable & fair framework for contracting. This also fulfils promotion of parties’ reasonable expectations.

Applicable Test

  • Related to 1st issue

  1. if the aim is to give effect to presumed intent of parties, the likely test is necessity

  2. if it’s done for broader policy considerations, criteria a la reasonableness may apply

  1. Business Efficacy(The Moorcock) - to give such business efficacy to transaction as parties as businessmen must have intended

  2. Officious Bystander

  • So obvious as to go w/out saying – if officious bystander had suggested it, parties wouldn’t have hesitated.

  • Bystander isn’t the arbiter of whether term should be implied asks the question, parties answer it

  • A stiff test not many terms which both parties would agree to unequivocally.

  • But business efficacy & officious bystander have gone hand in glove

  • Liverpool CC v Irwin – HL held term should be implied into tenancy agreements b/w LA & tenants of council flats that it would, as landlord, use reasonable care to keep common areas in good repair. Implied as a matter of law into common type of contract rather than based upon intent of parties.

  • Denning: the real test is whether it’s reasonable in all circs to do so. quoted Lord Wright: court decides the question in acc to what seems just/reasonable in their eyes. It’s in that sense making a contract for parties, although it’s almost blasphemy to say so.

  • Phillips Electronique Grand Public SA v BSkyB – pursuing to contracts b/w them, Phillips undertook to manufacture electronic equipment capable of receiving signals from BSkyB’s satellite, BSB then merged w/Sky & adopted their technology, largely destroying the market for equipment being...

Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our Contract Law Notes.

More Contract Law Samples