Assignment of Contractual Rights: The Apparent Reformulation of the Personal Rights Rule

Australian Bar Review, Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 4-26, 2007

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 07/31

24 Pages Posted: 18 May 2007  

Greg Tolhurst

The University of Sydney Law School

Abstract

It is a fundamental rule of assignment that personal contractual rights cannot be assigned. It is also well settled that whether or not a right is personal is an issue of construction. However, there is a view that greater assignability should be fostered by doing away with the personal rights rule and allowing a right to be assigned if there is no good objective reasoning for disallowing the assignment. Under this model, assignment is allowed if there is a benefit to the assignor and no real harm to the obligor. This approach blurs the line between the personal rights rule and the separate rule that an obligor is to be no worse off by reason of an assignment. There have been statements in recent Australian cases that appear to adopt this approach. This article looks at those cases and assesses the impact of such a move.

Keywords: Contract, assignment, operation of the personal rights rule

JEL Classification: K12, K10, K40

Suggested Citation

Tolhurst, Greg, Assignment of Contractual Rights: The Apparent Reformulation of the Personal Rights Rule. ; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 07/31. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=987120

Greg Tolhurst (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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