THE SUPPOSED DOCTRINE OF MISTAKE IN CONTRACT: A COMEDY OF ERRORS
AbstractIf the joint reasons of Justices Dixon and Fullagar in McRae v. Commonwealth Disposals Commissioner circumvented the House of Lords’ doctrine of mistake as set out in Bell v. Lever Bros. Ltd., Lord Denning and the Court of Appeal drove a coach and four through it. So is mistake enduring doctrine or fusty dogma? As native English theory prises at this dead hand, it is increasingly apparent that the question to what extent mistake, whether that of one or both parties, has in itself any operative effect upon an alleged contract can only be approached in light of other well-established rules. Such rules may operate to free one or both parties from a contractual obligation at any point of time from its alleged inception through offer and acceptance, to discharge by breach, to subsequent impossibility of performance.
Keywords:Contract Law, Mistake
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