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Document Type

Symposium

Publication Date

Summer 2007

Publication Citation

14 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 191 (2007)

Abstract

This paper focuses on contract law as a central field in contemporary regulatory practice. In recent years, "governance by contract" has emerged as the central concept in the context of privatization, domestic and transnational commercial relations, and law-and-development projects. Meanwhile, as a result of the neo-formalist attack on contract law, "governance of contract" through contract adjudication, consumer protection law, and judicial intervention into private law relations has come under severe pressure. Building on early historical critique of the formalist foundations of an allegedly private law of the market, the paper assesses the current justifications for contractual governance and posits that only an expanded legal realist perspective can adequately explain the complex nature of contractual agreements in contemporary practice. The paper argues for an understanding of contracts as complex societal arrangements that visibilize and negotiate conflicting rationalities and interests.

Governing Contracts - Public and Private Perspectives, Symposium. Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, November 9-10, 2006

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