Contract Law For Dummies book cover

Contract Law For Dummies

Author:
Scott J. Burnham
Published: November 18, 2011

Overview

Contract law deals with the promises and agreements that law will enforce. Understanding contract law is vital for all aspiring lawyers and paralegals, and contracts courses are foundational courses within all law schools. Contract Law For Dummies tracks to a typical contracts course and assists you in understanding the foundational legal rules controlling voluntary agreements people enter into while conducting their personal and business affairs.
Contract law deals with the promises and agreements that law will enforce. Understanding contract law is vital for all aspiring lawyers and paralegals, and contracts courses are foundational courses within all law schools. Contract
Law For Dummies tracks to a typical contracts course and assists you in understanding the foundational legal rules controlling voluntary agreements people enter into while conducting their personal and business affairs.
Contract Law For Dummies Cheat Sheet

To be successful in contract law, you need to know the rules and be able to analyze fact situations in the light of those rules. This Cheat Sheet introduces some of the most important concepts in contract law — such as contract formation, promises enforceable because of reliance and restitution, the statute of frauds, the parol evidence rule, and damages for breach of contract — and boils them down for easy reference.

Articles From The Book

12 results

Contract Law Articles

Calculating Expectation Damages

According to the rule of the expectancy, a non-breaching party is entitled to damages that put the non-breaching party in the position it would’ve been in had the contract been fully performed. To use the rule of the expectancy to calculate damages for breach of contract, take the following steps:

  1. Describe what the non-breaching party would’ve had if the contract had been performed.

  2. Describe where the non-breaching party stands now.

  3. Figure out what it would take to bring the non-breaching party from where she is now to where she would’ve been had both parties performed.

Contract Law Articles

Excusing Contract Performance Due to Impracticability

When an unforeseen event makes performance of a contract obligation impracticable (impossible or unrealistic), the seller may claim that its nonperformance is excused. To analyze a claim of impracticability, determine whether all of the following apply:

  • The event occurred after the contract was made.

  • Performance became impracticable because of the event.

  • The nonoccurrence of the event was a basic assumption of the contract.

  • The party seeking to be discharged carried the risk of the event’s occurring.

Contract Law Articles

Finding Contract Modifications

Parties frequently modify (change the terms of) the contract after they make it. Technically, a contract modification is a new contract requiring consideration. When one party promises to give something up and the other doesn’t, courts sometimes invoke the pre-existing duty rule to determine whether the modification is enforceable. However, the pre-existing duty rule has several exceptions, including the following:

  • The UCC says in § 2-209(1) that consideration is not needed for a modification.

  • The modern rule found in Restatement § 89 says that consideration is not needed if the modification is fair and equitable in light of changed circumstances.

  • For an accord (an agreement to settle a debt by paying less), consideration is needed. Consideration is often found if the debt is unliquidated or disputed.