A Theory of Contract Formation

46 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2013

See all articles by Allan Beever

Allan Beever

Auckland University of Technology - Faculty of Business & Law

Date Written: July 17, 2013


The law reviews and library shelves are replete with theories of contractual obligation. These theories standardly attempt to explain why contracts are binding and why breach of contract generates the legal response that it does. Much less discussed is contract formation. How, precisely, is it that contracts are formed? This lack is perhaps the result of the assumption that a successful theory of contractual obligation will explain contract formation. This article argues that this is not the case, however. The standard theories of contractual obligation, even if successful in their own right, could not explain contract formation. The article then presents a theory that can: the theory presented in Immanuel Kant’s Rechtslehre. The article ends by showing that, in addition to explaining contract formation, this theory solves without difficulty standard problems thought to face accounts of contractual obligation that resemble it.

Keywords: Contract, contract formation, Kant, offer, acceptance

Suggested Citation

Beever, Allan, A Theory of Contract Formation (July 17, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2295139 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2295139

Allan Beever (Contact Author)

Auckland University of Technology - Faculty of Business & Law ( email )

3 Wakefield Street
Private Bag 92006
Auckland Central 1020
New Zealand

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