MISTAKE IN THE LAW OF CONTRACTS SMITH V HUGHES
AbstractIn this article the author discusses mistake in the law of contracts, examining four classes of cases in which the caveat emptor principle from Smith v. Hughes has been applied. First, the author briefly discusses the role of caveat emptor in cases in which a buyer’s unaided self-deception in regards to the subject matter of the contract is unknown to the seller. The author then looks at a second class of cases in which such unaided self-deception by the buyer is known to the seller. In discussing such cases, the author looks at several fact scenarios put forth by Marcus Tullius Cicero and compares them with analogous situations that have arisen in the courts. The author then examines a third class of cases in which a seller is aware of the unaided self-deception on the part of the buyer, but is unaware that the buyer is mistaken as to the terms of the contract as well. In discussing such cases, the author examines the approach that has been taken by the courts when faced with a similar scenario. Finally, the author looks at a class of cases in which the seller is aware of both the buyer’s unaided self-deception in regards to the subject matter of the contract, and the mistake as to the contractual terms, and again discusses the approach that has been taken by the courts.
Keywords:Contract Law, Mistake
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