Rethinking the Law of Contract Damages
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Rethinking the Law of Contract Damages

Victor P. Goldberg

In this series of chapters on contract damages issues, Victor P. Goldberg provides a framework for analyzing the problems that arise when determining damages, and applies it to case law in both the USA and the UK.
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Chapter 4: The lost volume seller, UK

Victor P. Goldberg

Abstract

If a buyer breaches a contract but the market price has remained unchanged, English courts and the treatises have treated the seller as a “lost volume seller.” The seller, it is argued, could have had two sales, not one, so it lost the profit on the second sale. This chapter recognizes that the buyer has an option to terminate and that the contract prices that option. The implicit option price of the lost volume remedy results in an absurd contract, setting the option price high when it should be low and vice versa. The default rule ought to be the contract-market differential (zero in these cases) with the parties determining the appropriate option price with a nonrefundable deposit or liquidated damages.

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