Edited by Roger Halson and David Campbell
Chapter 14: Market damages in sales of goods and their relationship to the general principles of remedies for breach of contract
It is a striking feature of the conventional understanding of the general principles of remedies for breach of contract that, though sale of goods cases are of course often cited ad hoc, the basic structure of the overwhelmingly most important remedy for breach, market damages under Pt V of the Sale of Goods Act 1893 (Pt VI under the 1979 Act), typically receives little attention. Through a criticism of this conventional understanding focused on one of the principal statements of the general principles, Cheshire, Fifoot and Furmston’s Law of Contract, it will be argued that this curious situation arises because market damages are difficult to reconcile with the classical law of contract, which sees the proper purpose of remedies as vindication of the interests of the claimant. The ultimately reluctant acknowledgement of the thoroughgoing limitations on such vindication which the positive law exhaustively demonstrates is an inadequate response to the true purpose of remedies, which is to facilitate a cooperative response to misallocations of goods. This purpose is fully illustrated by an adequate understanding of the market damages.
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