Reform of Contract Law

Not only is the Scottish Law Commission (SLC) undertaking a comprehensive review of Scots Contract Law in light of the Draft Common Frame of Reference (DCFR) of Principles, Definitions and Model Rules of European Private Law, but the Australian Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, has just released a discussion paper to explore the scope for reforming Australian Contract Law.

Scottish Law Commission logo, via their siteThe most recent discussion paper produced by the SLC discusses contract formation for the electronic age (DP 154, March 2012, pdf). It follows an earlier discussion paper with interpretation of contract (DP 147, Feb 2011, pdf), and a joint project (pdf) with the Law Commission of England and Wales on the proposed Common European Sales Law. Moreover, the SLC intend to publish further discussion papers, including one in the near future on remedies for breach of contract. Chapter 9 of the contract formation discussion paper contains 51 questions, and the Appendix contains some draft statutory provisions, drawn from various European texts.

Australian AG logo, via their siteThe Australian review is equally as ambitious. The discussion paper (doc | pdf) aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of commercial and consumer transactions; and it therefore considers whether Australian contact law could be reformed to:

  • enhance accessibility, certainty and simplicity
  • set standards of conduct
  • better support innovation and participation in the digital economy
  • better meet the evolving needs of businesses particularly small and medium businesses
  • make the law more elastic to promote long-term relationships, and
  • harmonise and internationalise contract law.

Is any similar review likely in Ireland in the near future, I wonder?