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Foundational Principles of Contract Law$
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Melvin A. Eisenberg

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199731404

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199731404.001.0001

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The Role of Fault in Contract Law

The Role of Fault in Contract Law

(p.173) Tweleve The Role of Fault in Contract Law
Foundational Principles of Contract Law

Melvin A. Eisenberg

Oxford University Press

Chapter 12 considers the role of fault in contract law. Restatement Second of Contracts provides that “Contract liability is strict liability. It is an accepted maxim that pacta sunt servanda, contracts are to be kept. The obligor is therefore liable in damages for breach of contract even if he is without fault . . . .” Similarly, the Farnsworth’s treatise states that “contract law is, in its essential design, a law of strict liability, and the accompanying system of remedies operates without regard to fault.” These statements, and many others like them, are incorrect. As a normative matter fault should be a building block of contract law. One part of the human condition is that we hold many moral values concerning right and wrong, and therefore fault. Contract law cannot escape this condition.

Keywords:   pacta sunt servanda, fault, strict liability, moral values, contract law

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