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Foundational Principles of Contract Law$
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Melvin A. Eisenberg

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199731404

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199731404.001.0001

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Objective and Subjective Elements of Interpretation

Objective and Subjective Elements of Interpretation

Chapter:
(p.397) Twenty-Nine Objective and Subjective Elements of Interpretation
Source:
Foundational Principles of Contract Law
Author(s):

Melvin A. Eisenberg

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199731404.003.0029

Chapter 29 concerns objective and subjective elements of interpretation. A deep difference between classical and modern contract law is that the standards of classical contract law were almost entirely objective, whereas the standards of modern contract law include subjective elements. This difference is particularly striking in the area of interpretation. Classical contract law adopted a standard of interpretation that was almost purely objective. However just as the aim of contract law should be to effectuate the objectives of contracting parties, subject to applicable conditions and constraints, so the aim of interpretation should be to ascertain those objectives, subject to those conditions and constraints, and subjective understandings often play a crucial role in this ascertainment process.

Keywords:   objective interpretation, subjective interpretation, classical contract law, objectives, conditions and restraints

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