Doctrines of Last Resort

Revisiting the Contracts Scholarship of Stewart Macaulay: On the Empirical and the Lyrical, Jean Braucher, John Kidwell, & William C. Whitford eds., 2013

15 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2013  

D. Gordon Smith

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School

Date Written: January 15, 2013

Abstract

The doctrines of good faith and fair dealing, fiduciary duty, and unjust enrichment are doctrines of last resort because they are activated only when all other potentially applicable commands from constitutions, statutes, regulations, ordinances, common law decisions and contracts have been exhausted. In these circumstances ⎯ where positive law and private ordering are otherwise incomplete ⎯ contracting parties rely heavily on informal social sanctions to protect against opportunism, but the doctrines of last resort reinforce these social sanctions. Rather than regulating all of the deviations and adjustments that are common in contractual relationships, doctrines of last resort constrain extreme deviations from social norms, reinforcing agreements precisely in those contexts where informal social sanctions are weakest.

Keywords: good faith and fair dealing, fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, contracts

JEL Classification: K12, K22, M13

Suggested Citation

Smith, D. Gordon, Doctrines of Last Resort (January 15, 2013). Revisiting the Contracts Scholarship of Stewart Macaulay: On the Empirical and the Lyrical, Jean Braucher, John Kidwell, & William C. Whitford eds., 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2330046

D. Gordon Smith (Contact Author)

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School ( email )

422 JRCB
Provo, UT 84602
United States
801.422.3233 (Phone)
801.422.0390 (Fax)

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