Contract Modifications: Reflections on Two Commonwealth Cases
The common law rule that a promise to perform a pre-existing obligation is no consideration is said to have done the most in giving the doctrine of consideration a bad name. While the English innovation of 'practical benefits' in Williams v Roffey has effectively enervated this rule, general discontentment with the conceptual difficulties residing in this approach has often led to calls for the abolition of consideration in the context of contract modifications. This article examines two Commonwealth cases that took this step and warns against an overly optimistic view of such a development. It argues, instead, that the post-Williams v Roffey conception of consideration may be useful in focusing attention on the exchange of value that gives promises contractual force in the first place, and the attainment of such value as the primary justification for facilitating contract modifications. Abandoning consideration may also be unsatisfactory because alternative autonomy-centred concepts are insufficient justifications for enforcing agreements to modify.
Asian Studies | Contracts
Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal
LEE, Pey Woan.
Contract Modifications: Reflections on Two Commonwealth Cases. (2012). Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal. 12, (2), 189-205. Research Collection School Of Law.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/sol_research/1223