Does contract law develop slower than other areas of law?

This question is one that may not be as easy to answer as it first seems. While most of us know that contract law has existed since ancient times, the fact is that the economy as a whole is shifting and changing as well. That being said, does contract law remain as good as it is or does it require some change of look?

These are our thoughts.

Contract law as of now retains much of its original structure. The simple conditions of offer, acceptance, consideration, and an absence of vitiating factors make for quite the solid framework. Simply said, these three terms are easy enough to explain and understand to a child (of course you must explain vitiating factors in a simpler context; they would surely understand the concept of it), and it could be said that even the simplest of societies in tribal villages can understand this.

So what it is that makes it one of the most solid an uncontroversial area of law? The answer lies in simplicity. Too many cooks spoil the soup, as they say. Just look at the area of criminal law and recklessness; Lord Diplock in R v Caldwell [1982] made a complete mess of R v Cunningham [1957] and the issue remained unsettled until some years later in R v G and Another [2003]. Now look at Carlill v. Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. [1893]; one case was all that it took for the point to still hold true until this very day. Some might present the argument that criminal law is more complex than contract law, as it involves the life of a person, and to this, I must respectfully agree. While I do not fancy Lord Diplock's decision (as I am sure many a person who studied law will feel the same), I do wholeheartedly believe that his decision was only in the interests of getting it right (though he got it so desperately wrong). Without any disrespect to the esteemed judge, it must still be remembered that to err is human.

For contract law at least, simplicity reigns supreme. And for that, contract law, in my humble opinion, is as steady as ever could be, and will remain so for many years to come.

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Till the next post, we bid you farewell.


  1. Contract law needs some revitalization

    1. You're right, Michelle, to some extent contract law needs a bit of revitalization; it is no longer as clear cut as the olden days. The age of the internet requires things to be seen from a modernized perspective, in tandem with the tried and tested principles of law.

  2. Contract law doesn't need an over layer of rules and regulations. Over addedges remove the simplicity of law.

    1. We agree to this wholeheartedly. It is always better to have the simple things in life. Thanks for sharing your opinions with us, Michelle.


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