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Week 1: What a mistake!

contract week 1 word wallThe first weeks material for contracts B has been quite interesting. The way that Anthony presents material is quite entertaining and engaging, thus tends to sink in well. This week’s material covered different types of mistake that pertain to contract law. There were¬†unilateral mistake, common mistake and mutual mistake. Unsurprisingly unilateral mistake refers to a mistake made by one of the parties, and it doesn’t actually matter which the two parties is in error, just that one of the parties did know of the mistake and tried to conceal it from the other.

With a common mistake, both parties must make a mistake and it must be the same mistake, for instance an agreement to go and see a movie in exchange for some service, and then later finding out that the movie is not actually running any more. And for the final type of mistake, mutual mistake, where again¬†both parties must have made a mistake, but it must be a different mistake made by the two parties. For example, if I have two motorbikes and somebody asked me one day if I’m interested in selling my bike, are they referring to the one I am currently using or are they referring to the one that is still in the garage? If they are referring to the one that is in the garage, then I think that they want to buy bike that I’m using, and they think that I wish to sell the one that they saw me on last time which is now in the garage.

The other interesting point in this week’s material is that the common law system has had to balance a very tight tightrope in order to provide some semblance of equity in protecting from some forms of mistake. For instance the general rule of once something is signed it is binding can in fact be thrown out of the window if it can be proved that unilateral mistake as to the nature of the document, which has a couple of elements which have to be validated in order to use this defence.

On to week two’s material, and trying not to read another book by Robert Jordan.