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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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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: 23 October 2021

The Certainty Principle

The Certainty Principle

(p.227) Eighteen The Certainty Principle
Foundational Principles of Contract Law

Melvin A. Eisenberg

Oxford University Press

Chapter 18 concerns the principle of contract law that damages must be proved with reasonable certainty. In practice this principle is usually applied to cut off profits that a promisee claims he would have made if the promisor had performed. Under classical contract law the degree of certainty required to prove lost profits was typically set at a high level and the use of probability-based analysis was explicitly or implicitly rejected. This approach is often referred to as the all-or-nothing rule. It is dramatically out of touch with the reality of probability and has begun to be less widely followed.

Keywords:   certainty, all-or-nothing rule, probability, damages, lost profits

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