Defects in Consent and Dividing the Benefit of the Bargain: Recent Trends

47 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2014 Last revised: 22 Oct 2015

See all articles by Jeffrey Lynch Harrison

Jeffrey Lynch Harrison

University of Florida - Levin College of Law

Date Written: February 6, 2014

Abstract

Contract law professors and students, attorneys, judges know that discussions about consent are rarely about consent. This results from three factors. First, it is the appearance of consent that is necessary to form a contract. Second, not every manifestation of consent is sufficient to create a contract that cannot be avoided. Third, interpretations of consent have the potential to allow courts to intervene when the benefit of the bargain is seen to be unfairly divided or one of the parties is actually worse off as a result of the contract. This Article assesses the extent to which recent decisions about consent are actually indirect means of addressing unfairness with respect to the terms of the exchange. Part of the reason for focusing on more recent cases is that it is possible that the doctrine of unconscionability has replaced more traditional theories as a means of addressing questions of fairness. This modest empirical effort suggests that the notion that courts rely on traditional notions of defects in consent to rescue those who are disadvantaged is obsolete.

Keywords: contracts, unconsionability, economics, duress, capacity, undue influence

Suggested Citation

Harrison, Jeffrey Lynch, Defects in Consent and Dividing the Benefit of the Bargain: Recent Trends (February 6, 2014). 53 U. Louisville L. Rev. 193 (2015); University of Florida Levin College of Law Research Paper No. 15-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2392021 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2392021

Jeffrey Lynch Harrison (Contact Author)

University of Florida - Levin College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States

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