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contracts

This is the page for Caroline Bradley’s Contracts Class at the University of Miami School of Law. In the Fall Semester 2018 we will be using the following books: Macaulay, Whitford, Hendley & Lipson, Contracts: Law in Action: Volume I: The Introductory Course (4th Ed. 2016) (Carolina Academic Press (looseleaf edition $146.00) and Burton & Eisenberg, Contract Law, Selected Source Materials Annotated (the 2018 edition is the latest, published July 2018 ($53) but the 2017 edition would also work).

Happy Thanksgiving

Review Sessions:
Monday 26 November at 11 am -12.30 pm in F109: I plan to answer questions you have and also finish discussing the Spring 2013 exam. If there is time we can look at the Fall 2016 Contracts Exam

Monday 3 December at 2 pm- 3.30 pm in F109: I plan to focus on the Contracts Exam 2017

I will be available to meet with you on December 2-4 and have set aside some specific times which you can see on this Appointments schedule. If I meet with you in groups of 4 there are enough time slots for everyone. Please email me to sign up. I am happy to meet with you at other times or to answer your questions by email.

Themes:

1. Contract law and fairness: how should contract law balance questions of fairness between contracting parties with more general systemic issues. Do the cases you have read suggest that contract law is about fairness or something else? In what cases do you think the results were unfair? And is this explained by some other operative principle? Would it be fair if contract law were more predictable and less uncertain so people could easily know how they should behave when making promises? The idea of a distinction between the idea of the result in a particular case and the rule the case establishes could be relevant to this set of questions. A court that focuses on doing justice in a particular case might reach different results than a court that focuses on establishing a rule that will work in all similar cases. In one sense this theme relates to the courts versus legislatures issues we have been thinking about: should courts behave more like legislatures in thinking that their role is to establish rules?

2. Freedom of contract. Do the materials you have read suggest that contract law really reflects the principle of freedom of contract or not? Freedom of contract is taken to mean freedom to contract and freedom from contract. What sorts of limits on these freedoms have you seen in the materials you have studied? Are there cases where you think that there is too much freedom of contract? Too little?

3. Courts and legislatures: to what extent should courts defer to legislatures? Deference might apply to the question whether courts should decline to develop the law in deference to the legislature. Marvin v Marvin and Hewitt v Hewitt (and Blumenthal v Brewer) illustrate different attitudes to this question. The legislative history of the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law suggests that legislatures aren’t necessarily better at evidence gathering and negotiating than courts are. Deference might also refer to how courts should go about interpreting and applying statutes (e.g. illegality, regulation of non-competes in Wisconsin).

4. Context: Do you think, based on your reading that there is one contract law or many different sets of rules relating to contracts? Are family cases really different from contracts for the “timely delivery of a crate of oranges”(CB p. 246). Are family disputes different from commercial disputes, or not? What about employment? Are employment contract issues like commercial contracts or like family contracts? Are the rules that apply to contracts between sophisticated parties very different from contracts involving unsophisticated parties? Should they be?