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English Law: Twentieth Century

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Chapter Summary

Despite academic and judicial criticism it remained as a firm statement of English law until the enactment of the Contracts Act in 1999. Its doctrinal strength is visible in the firmness with which it continued to be stated right up to 1999 not merely in conservative texts, but also in texts taking a consciously critical standpoint and those deliberately setting out to describe the law in practice and not simply the received tradition. Twentieth-century law was problematic in two ways. First was that it failed adequately to match the realities of complex commercial transactions. Secondly, in the second half of the nineteenth century the Common law judges began to take control over the rules relating to the measure of damages. The problems of twentieth-century contract law did not stem from either of these on its own, but from the fact that they existed together.

Keywords: Common law judges; Contracts Act; English law; twentieth-century



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