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This course provides an overview of American contract law, including exposure to Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code, which governs sales of products. This course uses American contract law to teach international attorneys about how American judges and lawyers think about and reason about the law. Because contract law is a common law topic, and everything of American law, including non-common law areas like constitutional and statutory law, retains the common law tradition of argumentation and reasoning by analogy, contract law fulfils this function. The application of common law reasoning is fact-intensive. As a result, rather than a wide but shallow survey of the whole range of contract law, the emphasis in this course is on meticulous, in-depth examination of a small amount of information.
The key concepts regulating contract formation, enforcement, and remedy will be covered in depth, with a focus on the principles guiding interpretation. Consideration and promissory estoppel, which are less known to attorneys from civil law nations, will be given special emphasis. The historical division between law and equity in the English common law system will be reflected in the different types of reasoning used throughout the book. Students will be required to participate actively in live sessions using the pure Socratic Method, in which they will be asked to engage in a discussion with the lecturer while examining the logic in the supplied material. Pre-recorded lectures giving background information recommended as preparation for specific projects will be available online, as well as extra content meant to provide a comprehensive overview of contract law.
A contract is an agreement between two or more parties that creates legally binding reciprocal responsibilities. Mutual consent, offer and acceptance, compensation, and legal purpose are the elements of a contract.
Mutual consent, also known as ratification or agreement of minds, is usually achieved through the offer and acceptance procedure. Contracts can, however, be inferred in reality, as explained below. The conditions of a putative acceptance must be a "mirror image" of the terms of the offer under common law. A counteroffer is any version of the above.
An offer is a declaration by a promissor that he or she is prepared to be legally bound by the conditions they define, presented in such a way that a reasonable person in the promisee's situation would understand that acceptance is sought and, if accepted, results in an enforceable contract. Normally, an offeror has the right to retract their offer at any point before it is accepted. This is partly owing to the adage that the "master of his offer" is an offeror. Even if the offeror pledges to keep the offer open for a particular amount of time, the basic rule described above applies to options.For example, Alice says to Bob, "I'll sell you my watch for $10, and you can have a week to decide." Alice is free to revoke her offer during the week, as long as Bob has not accepted the offer.
The offeror, on the other hand, is not allowed to cancel the offer if the offeree pays a separate payment (described below) to keep the offer open for a specified amount of time. Alice, for example, offers Bob $10 for her watch. Bob pays Alice $1 in order to extend the offer for another week. During the week, Alice is not allowed to revoke.
A counteroffer is a fresh offer that differs from the previous offer's conditions. As a result, it is also a rejection of the initial offer. "I'll sell you my watch for $10," Alan offers to Betty, for example. Betty now possesses the power of acceptance. Betty, on the other hand, says, "I'll just pay $8." Betty's answer to Alan's offer is a rejection, but it also provides Alan a new power of acceptance. It is feasible to frame what looks to be a counteroffer in such a way that the initial acceptance power is preserved. "I'll sell you my watch for $10," Alan offers to Betty, for example. "I wonder if you would accept $8," Betty says.
Betty keeps her previous power of acceptance (until Alan revokes it), but she does not grant Alan a new one because she is not making an offer. As a result, she is not making a counteroffer. As a result, simple queries are not considered counteroffers. An acceptance is an agreement to the conditions of an offer, including the authorised method of acceptance, by an express act or implied from behaviour, resulting in the formation of an enforceable contract. It is nevertheless possible to establish an enforceable contract in what is known as a battle of the forms, where the offer and acceptance process is not followed, as noted above with respect to contracts implied in fact.
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In Section 2-207 of the Uniform Commercial Code ("UCC"), the mirror image rule is eliminated. Even if it changes the parameters of the initial offer, a "definite and seasonable indication of acceptance...operates as" an acceptance, according to UCC 2-207(1). When a phrase professes to accept and agrees on the following terms of the initial offer: topic matter, quantity, and price, it is usually taken as an acceptance. However, if the expression is "expressly conditional" on the original offeror's approval to the several terms outlined below, it is not read as an acceptance. The proviso is the term for this type of phrase. When the proviso is not utilised, subsection 2 determines the contract's terms.
When the proviso is utilised, but the original offeror does not agree to the offeree's changed conditions, but the parties continue ahead and perform (act as if they had a contract, thereby implying a contract), subsection 3 determines the contract's terms. As a result, a combination of subsections 2 and 3 will never determine the conditions of a contract under 2-207.Additional phrases are handled according to UCC 2-207(2) of the Act. It doesn't say anything about what to do with distinct words. A small group of states, led by California, believe it was a typographical error on the part of the drafters. As a result, distinct terms are treated the same as extra terms in those states.
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