Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Elements of Contract Interpretation$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 February 2020

The Ambiguity Question

The Ambiguity Question

(p.105) Chapter 4 The Ambiguity Question
Elements of Contract Interpretation

Steven J. Burton

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the question of ambiguity. Under the plain meaning rule, an unambiguous contract will be given its unambiguous meaning as a matter of law. When determining whether a contract is unambiguous, most courts consider the contract on its face, excluding parol evidence and giving the words their ordinary meaning(s). Other courts consider the contract's context before deciding whether the contract is ambiguous. A few authorities would dispense with the question of ambiguity as a distinct task in contract interpretation. The law of civil procedure, however, thrusts the question of ambiguity into contract law. If a contract is unambiguous, there is no material question of fact for a fact-finder to determine upon a trial. Summary judgment or a comparable motion then is appropriate.

Keywords:   plain meaning, ambiguous contract, unambiguous contract, parol evidence, extrinsic evidence, ordinary meaning, summary judgment

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .