Contract Law Research

A judicial precedent is a law/statute established in a legal case, which forms the basis of ruling other legal cases related or similar to the former case by a court of law or any other judicial body. In relations to the law of contract, the importance of judicial precedent is to ensure application of the guiding principles of the law of contract in a consistent manner when deciding cases involving contracts. However, application of judicial precedents may be unfair. For example, application of a precedent dating more than 100 years to a legal case of the modern times. This is unfair because the world has changed and things are no longer done the way they used to be done 100 years ago. Furthermore, judicial precedents are unfair because they ‘tie the hands’ of judges to use unpopular precedents in making their rulings. A good example is the interpretation of the Americans with Disability Act, which has seen many people face discrimination since the interpretation of the Act do not recognize them as disabled.

Nonetheless, the lawmakers have softened the harshness of the common law precedents by using their legislative powers to overrule unpopular court decisions based on judicial precedents. This is because the law stipulates that the decisions of common law precedents are not binding to the legislature. The court has also taken measures to soften the harshness of common law precedents by taking initiatives to develop new precedents from current cases, which capture the aspects of modern days.

A contract is deemed an enforceable agreement. Enforceability of a contract depends on validity of a contract: all the elements of a contract must be present. Consider that during a study break at UMASS, May promised to sell her 2005 BMW to her friend Sue for $1,000 and Sue accepted. Here an enforceable agreement can be said to have existed since May made an offer and Sue accepted the offer for a consideration of $1,000. Enforceable agreement is said to exist if one party in a contract makes a clear offer and the other party accepts the offer at a given consideration (price). In another situation, Jo (seller) sends a monthly shipment of computer parts to Boz (buyer) which includes a term that “unless seller is notified in writing within 7 days, the goods will be deemed to be accepted by the buyer.” Here, enforceable agreement exists since the contract between the seller and buyer provides clearly written terms of performance. This is requirement for a contract of sale of goods worth $500 and above. Besides, any written element in a contract is usually deemed enforceable and the parties in a contract are bound by it.

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