The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Unless alleging mistake, fraud or misrepresentation, parties are bound by the documents which they sign, whether or not they have read those documents.
Therefore, the starting point will always be the contract which has been signed by the parties.
However, given the general guiding principles governing interpretation (see Practice Note: Contract interpretation—the guiding principles) it is clear that this is not limited purely to an analysis of the ‘four corners of the contract’ but that, where relevant, the background matrix of fact may also be considered.
Issues commonly faced by lawyers advising clients on potential or actual contractual disputes, include:
what is the parol evidence rule and are there any exceptions to it? See Practice Note: The parol evidence rule in interpreting contracts
when can surrounding documents be relied upon in construing the meaning of a contract, this might include drafts, supplemental documents, explanatory notes? This is the focus of this Practice Note
when can pre-contractual statements or negotiations be relied upon? See Practice Note: Contract interpretation—admissibility of pre-contractual negotiations and statements
what is the effect of an entire agreement clause? See Practice Note: Contract interpretation—interpreting entire agreement clauses
In Goldman Sachs v Videocon Global, the Court of Appeal (in dismissing an application for permission to appeal Teare J's decision awarding the claimant summary judgment of its US$4m claim pursuant to close out provisions
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