BOOK REVIEW - MONEY AWARDS IN CONTRACT LAW
Professor of Law, Lancaster University Law School
MONEY AWARDS IN CONTRACT LAW. David Winterton, Lecturer in Law, University of New South Wales. Hart, Oxford, ISBN 978-1-84946-457-4 (2015) xxxii + 335 pp. Hardback £55.
One of the results of the criticism of the law of remedies for breach of contract based on protection of expectation which was so stimulated by the late Professor Birks has been the appearance of highly interesting books based on doctoral researches shaped by that criticism. This criticism shall here be called the Birksian critique, though it is not so much Birks’ precise arguments, which of course were not focused on contract, but rather a generally negative attitude towards expectation and a generally assured attitude about the possibility of doing better justice that I am trying to identify. The book under review is the latest addition to a line begun by Justice Edelman, as he now is, who was one of Dr Winterton’s supervisors, and continued by, to mention inter alia two books which have given your reviewer particular food for thought, Dr Barnett and Dr Rowan. The family resemblances are all there. This book puts forward an ingenious and novel argument in an erudite and very well written way. Like its kin but even more so, it is profoundly at variance with the law of expectation. This, of course, is the very point of a self-described “new account” of damages, and Dr Winterton is not very much disturbed by any “supposed” lack of fit with what is described as “the orthodox account”. Nevertheless, as with its kin, the book’s novelty is in part created by a failure to give sufficient consideration to how it is that an “older”, “orthodox” law so needful of criticism is the positive law on which the material success of the liberal democracies and the attractiveness of their economic and political values have been based.