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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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Introduction to Mistake in Contract Law

Introduction to Mistake in Contract Law

Chapter:
(p.551) Thirty-Nine Introduction to Mistake in Contract Law
Source:
Foundational Principles of Contract Law
Author(s):

Melvin A. Eisenberg

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199731404.003.0039

Chapter 39 concerns the effect of mistake in contract law. Traditionally, contract law has recognized four categories of mistake: misunderstanding, unilateral mistake, mutual mistake, and mistranscription. The names of these categories fail to describe contractual mistakes according to their functional characteristics, and many of the rules that govern these categories turn on elements that are of only limited functional significance, easy to manipulate, or both. The first step in developing a functional analysis of mistake is to analyze contractual mistakes on the basis of their character. The second step is to analyze the rules that should govern each type of mistake based on policy, morality, and experience. This chapter sets out the general parameter of these analyses.

Keywords:   mistake, misunderstanding, unilateral mistake, mutual mistake, mistranscription

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