Models of Contract Law: an empirical evaluation of their utility
1 Jan 2005
Published in association with the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW The Case Law in common law jurisdictions is massive and burgeoning. This is particularly true of private law, including contract law. To date there are over 6,000 Australian cases on contracts, over 900 of them in the High Court of Australia. There is wide agreement that it is becoming increasingly costly to locate, comprehend and apply. Would it be beneficial if it were replaced by an authoritative statement of the law in a more accessible form, such as in a code? If there were to be a code, should it state the law in a relatively small number of broad principles or state it in the form of numerous detailed rules? The authors of Models of Contract Law conducted three experiments which compared the utility of Case Law with that of two different codes of contract law - UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, a detailed model code published by the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law. The Australian Contract Code, a short draft code published by the Victorian Law Reform Commission in 1992. Their book reports the hard data of this empirical research and their conclusions based on it. These are: there is a good case for codification, d it would be better if the code stated broad principles rather than detailed rules.