1. What is the difference between Employment Law and Contract Law?




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UNIT 8. CONTRACT LAW


Lead-in

1. What is the difference between Employment Law and Contract Law?

2. Lawyers are usually involved at the formation stage of a contract, which includes advising, drafting and negotiating. How could you describe all steps of the formation of a contract?

3. Name all clauses of a contract in your jurisdiction.


Part I. Nature of contracts. Importance of Contract Law


Contract law is a body of rules governing the formation, performance, and enforcement of contracts. Its major purpose is to protect the reasonable expectations of individuals, businesses, and governments that contracts will be binding on and enforceable by the parties. Because contracts are enforceable, private parties can make personal and business plans of immense variety, confident of receiving the bargained-for exchange or a court-ordered equivalent (usually a money payment called "damages"). The large-scale, long-term business planning necessary for a modern industrial society would be difficult to achieve without the legal enforceability of contracts.

Common law contract principles appear throughout the law governing employment, labor-management relations, partnerships, corporations, antitrust and merger problems, secured transactions such as mortgages, insurance, and the landlord-tenant relationship. The law of contracts has been adapted to serve special needs. For example, we have a special body of contract law governing the sale of goods. An even more specialized body of contract law applies to commercial paper: the checks, notes, drafts, and certificates of deposit used in financial transactions. Even the law of bankruptcy requires attention to contract principles, since the courts must decide which of the troubled debtor’s contracts are to be enforced and which are not. A study of the concepts, principles, and technical vocabulary of contract law will aid immensely in understanding most other business law.

A contract may be defined simply as a promise or set of promises that the court will enforce. A contract may also be defined as a legally enforceable agreement. This agreement often consists of an exchange of promises between two persons, called “parties”, who hope to strike a bargain that is acceptable to each party.

Since promises are a vital part of contracting, it is helpful to consider the legal meaning of promise and its contractual function. A promise is “a manifestation of intention to act or to refrain from acting in a specified way, so made as to justify a promise in understanding that a commitment has been made”. The party who makes a promise is called the promisor. The one to whom the promise is made is called the promisee. The “commitment” is the promisor’s pledge or assurance that he or she will perform in the way specified, and it ordinarily is made to induce the promisee into a contract. Because the ability to rely on commitments is essential for planning and carrying out business activities, the law protects promisees’ expectations of performance by enforcing contractual and certain other kinds of promises.

A promise may be communicated by language or by nonverbal conduct. When communicating in language, a promisor need not to use the word “promise”. Expressions such as “I will pay” and “I’ll give you 10$ for it” are promises to pay. Often, promises are inferred from nonverbal conduct. For example, at an auction, a promise to pay may be inferred from the bidder’s act of raising a hand or a card. This is so regardless of any secret intention of the bidder not to pay. Contracting parties such as a seller at an auction usually can rely on external (objective) manifestations of intention and are not bound by internal (subjective) intentions that contradict the outward manifestations.

The usual goal of contracting parties is an exchange of values: money for goods or for real estate, goods for services, and so on. There may be a period of negotiation or bargaining during which the parties try to establish the price and other terms. The resulting contract will call for one party to render a performance (or to make a promise to perform) in exchange for the other party’s return performance or promise.

A contract for an exchange of values usually must meet the following requirements:

1. Agreement. Agreement is defined as a manifestation of mutual assent ordinarily arrived at by a process of offer and acceptance (which may or may not involve bargaining over terms). Ann asks Ben to paint her house for 2 000$. Ann is the offeror (the person making an offer) and Ben is the offeree (the person receiving the offer). A contract forms, or “arises”, when the offeree (Ben) indicates agreement to, or “accepts”, the offer.

2. Consideration. The promises must be supported by consideration. Ann’s promise to pay money is consideration for Ben’s promise to paint her house. His promise to paint the house is consideration for her promise to pay money. (Thus, usually, each contracting party is both a promisor and a promisee.)

3. Capacity. The parties involved must have capacity (mental or legal ability) to contract.

4. Lawful Purpose (Legal Object). The agreement must serve a purpose that is permitted by law. For example, an agreement to buy heroin for recreational use or for resale would not be a contract because the agreement has an illegal purpose.


Active Vocabulary


enforceable

имеющий исковую силу; могущий быть принудительно осуществлённым в судебном порядке

confident of

уверенный в (в чем-л.)

bargained-for exchange

ожидающий обмена

court-ordered

по приказу суда

commercial paper

оборотные кредитно-денежные документы

to strike a bargain

заключать сделку (соглашение)

to refrain

воздерживаться (от совершения действия)

to justify

подтверждать

commitment

обязательство

pledge

заверение, обязательство

to induce

побуждать; склонять; вовлекать

to infer

заключать, делать вывод, подразумевать

bidder

лицо, выступающее на аукционе, участник торгов

to contradict

противоречить, возражать, опровергать

consideration

встречное удовлетворение; компенсация; вознаграждение; возмещение

capacity

способность, правоспособность; дееспособность


Vocabulary Focus

I. Match the words to form collocations as they appear in Reading 1. Make your own sentences using these collocations:

1. reasonable a) assent

2. confident of b) expectations

3. bargained-for c) a performance

4. court-ordered d) receiving

5. labor-management e) of values

6. secured f) exchange

7. contract g) conduct

8. enforceable h) equivalent

9. strike i) pledge

10. justify j) transactions

11. promisor’s k) a promise

12. nonverbal l) a bargain

13. exchange m) agreement

14. render n) principles

15. mutual o) relations


II. Match the terms to their definitions:

1. capacity

a) sure that you can do something or deal with a situation successfully

2. confident of

b) to expect that something will happen and make it part of your plans

3. consideration

c) an order given by a court of law that someone must do or must not do something

4. bargain-for

d) to agree on terms

5. contradict

e) to abstain (from action)

6. court-ordered

f) to prove or see to be just or valid; vindicate

7. infer

g) a promise to do something or to behave in a particular way

8. strike a bargain

h) a formal or solemn promise or agreement, esp to do or refrain from doing something.

9. induce

i) to persuade or use influence on; to make someone decide to do something

10. refrain

j) to conclude (a state of affairs, supposition, etc.) by reasoning from evidence; deduce

11. pledge

k) to affirm the opposite of (a proposition, statement, etc.)

12. justify

l) cause, motive, price or impelling motive which induces one party to enter into an agreement

13. commitment

m) someone’s ability to do something; someone’s job, position or duty



III. Give English equivalents for the following word combinations using active vocabulary:

Заключить сделку; договорные обязательства; выполнять обязательства; связывать себя обязательствами; должник по договору; кредитор по договору; делать выводы; обоюдное согласие; встречное удовлетворение; крупномасштабное долгосрочное планирование; имеющее обязательную силу; положение договора; без возможности принудительного осуществления по закону; оборотные кредитно-денежные документы.


IV. Fill in the gaps with prepositions:

  1. This agreement often consists ……..an exchange ……promises between two persons, called “parties”, who hope to strike a bargain that is acceptable ………each party.

  2. A promise is “a manifestation ………intention to act or to refrain ………acting.

  3. The law protects promisees’ expectations ………performance …….enforcing contractual and certain other kinds of promises.

  4. Often, promises are inferred …….nonverbal conduct.

  5. The usual goal of contracting parties is an exchange of values: money…….goods or …..real estate, goods ………services, and so on.

  6. Agreement is defined as a manifestation …….mutual assent ordinarily arrived …….. …….a process of offer and acceptance.

  7. Common law contract principles appear ……..the law governing employment, partnership etc.


V. Answer the following questions:

  1. What is a contract?

  2. Give definitions of a “promise”, “promisor”, a “promisee” and “commitment”.

  3. What may a promise to pay be inferred from?

  4. What is the usual goal of contracting parties?

  5. What requirements must a contract for an exchange of values meet?

  6. Why is Contract Law so important?


VI. Render the texts:
  1   2   3   4

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