Scottish Law Commission - contract law review report: consultation

This consultation seeks general views on the Scottish Law Commission report on review of contract law.

Ministerial Foreword

In March 2018, the Scottish Law Commission (SLC) published a report and a draft Bill on a review of contract law which was the final output of a reform project that began in 2010. The recommendations include a statutory statement of the law in relation to formation of contracts, the abolition of the postal acceptance rule and some reshaping of aspects of the law in relation to remedies for breach of contract.

Contract law impacts on day to day economic life in relation to all types of transactions, for businesses and individuals alike. The overall objective of the SLC's recommendations is to ensure that certain aspects of contract are as clear, certain and up-to-date as possible. If parties negotiating a contract are being advised by lawyers, this will enable the advice to be given with a reasonable degree of confidence. However, many contracts are made, carried through, and become the subject of disputes between parties who have no professional assistance. It is important that our contract law is clear so that it is relatively readily understood by lawyer and non-lawyer alike.

The 2021 Programme for Government set out that the Scottish Government is "…giving consideration to a longer-term programme of implementation of Scottish Law Commission Reports to be introduced during this Parliament…" which included contract law. Already this parliamentary session the Scottish Government has brought forward 3 Bills in 3 years which have implemented recommendations of the SLC.

It has, though, been 6 years since the recommendations on contract law were published. In line with the process that Scottish Ministers set out to the Scottish Parliament in respect of potential Bills implementing older SLC recommendations, this consultation will seek to establish:

  • Whether the landscape around this area of the law has changed since the Report was published and, if so whether the changes are material to the recommendations contained in the Report.
  • That the consultation views received by the SLC are still broadly held.

I am pleased therefore to publish this consultation paper and I look forward to considering the responses which will inform our policy in this area.



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