Promissory Fraud Without Breach

29 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2004

See all articles by Ian Ayres

Ian Ayres

Yale University - Yale Law School; Yale University - Yale School of Management

Gregory Klass

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: February 8, 2004


It is of course true that proving breach of contract is not sufficient to establish promissory fraud liability. But in this paper we argue that breach of contract should not even be a necessary element for proving promissory fraud. There are a variety of contexts without legally enforceable contracts where insincere promising should still be deemed tortuous because of the willful harm that it causes. Promisors who are free from contractual liability nonetheless are sometimes potentially liable for this promissory tort.

Keywords: contract, promissory fraud, false promise

Suggested Citation

Ayres, Ian and Klass, Gregory, Promissory Fraud Without Breach (February 8, 2004). Yale Law & Economics Research Paper No. 295. Available at SSRN: or

Ian Ayres (Contact Author)

Yale University - Yale Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States
203-432-7101 (Phone)
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Yale University - Yale School of Management

135 Prospect Street
P.O. Box 208200
New Haven, CT 06520-8200
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Gregory Klass

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States


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