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A Historical Introduction to the Law of Obligations$
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David Ibbetson

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198764113

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198764113.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 October 2021

11. Foundations of the Modern Law of Contract

11. Foundations of the Modern Law of Contract

(p.202) 11. Foundations of the Modern Law of Contract
A Historical Introduction to the Law of Obligations


Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how the 17th and 18th centuries marked a period of consolidation of the law of contract, the fleshing out of the skeletal structure that had been locked in place at the end of the 16th century. The most important developments occurred in the Chancery, which had begun to operate along clearly defined, rule-based lines by the time of the Chancellorship of Nottingham (1673-81). The 18th century saw the first attempts to articulate a theory of contractual liability, largely based on the writings of non-lawyers, at least non-Common lawyers. Although these attempts were neither sophisticated nor successful, they did begin the work of accustoming English lawyers to the fact that there were not several sets of rules applicable to different forms of action in Common law and Chancery, but a single body of definable rules that could be called the ‘law of contract’.

Keywords:   law of contract, Chancery, contractual liability, theory of contractual liability

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