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Elements of Contract Interpretation$
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Steven J. Burton

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195337495

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195337495.001.0001

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Goals, Tasks, and Theories

Goals, Tasks, and Theories

(p.1) Chapter 1 Goals, Tasks, and Theories
Elements of Contract Interpretation

Steven J. Burton

Oxford University Press

This chapter gives an overview of the book's structure, which emphasizes the goals, tasks, and theories of contract interpretation. There are four main goals: implementing freedom of and freedom from contract, protecting and enhancing the security of contractual transactions, settling contract disputes in accordance with the Rule of Law, and ensuring that the law is reasonably administrable. The tasks are to identify the terms to be interpreted, to decide whether the governing term is ambiguous, and to resolve any ambiguity. The theories are literalism, objectivism, and subjectivism. The theories tell us how to perform the tasks to further the goals.

Keywords:   literalism, contract interpretation, objectivism, subjectivism, freedom of contract, security of contract, contact disputes, rule of law, ambiguity

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