'The Reasonable Expectations of the Parties': An Unhelpful Concept
Stephen A. Smith
McGill University - Faculty of Law
February 26, 2009
This essay argues that the idea of protecting 'the reasonable expectations of the parties' is unhelpful for understanding how contract law does, or should, work. The 'reasonable expectations of the parties' stands for a number of different ideas. Individually, none of these ideas are or should be applicable to more than a small part of contract law; collectively, the only thing they have in common is that each is better expressed using a different concept. The idea that contract law does and should protect the reasonable expectations of the parties is essentially a slogan.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19
Keywords: contract, reasonable expectations, contract interpretation
JEL Classification: K12working papers series
Date posted: February 26, 2009
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