Book Reviews


Contract Law

Publisher: Palgrave

Author: Ewan McKendrick

Price: 26.99

Edition: 10th Edition (July 2013)

ISBN: 978-1-137-29370-1

Buy from Palgrave: Click Here

Ever since I first used Ewan McKendrick's Contract Law fifteen years ago as a first year undergraduate student, it has always been a favourite of mine.  It continues to be the leading introductory contract law text with only one real competitor by providing a clear, concise and engaging account of contract law.  Now in its tenth edition, and (once again) coming two years since the last edition, Contract Law has been thoroughly updated to include the numerous changes in contract law since the last edition.  These have (once again) been seamlessly and effortlessly incorporated to ensure Contract Law remains a leading introductory text.

Contract Law is split into four parts: the formation and scope of a contract; the content of a contract; policing the contract; and performance, discharge and remedies for breach of contract.  Each part is then separated into a number of chapters.  For example, policing the contract includes chapters on: misrepresentation; common mistake and frustration; illegality; capacity; and duress, undue influence and inequality of bargaining position.  Each chapter adopts a similar approach by explaining the law, sometimes including extracts from case-law or statutes where appropriate, in short and manageable sections followed by a summary and some exercises.  Each summary is excellent and really drives home the key principles (but, unfortunately, no answers are given to the exercises; but they form first-rate discussion points for seminars).

When I first started learning about contract law, I found the subject (like many of my peers) interesting but difficult to follow.  I therefore decided to invest in Contract Law and have not looked back since.  Indeed, I have ensured that the latest edition of Contract Law remains close to hand as a practitioner and often refer to it when I need a short summary of the law.  The reason why it is so successful is that McKendrick fully understands the material; this means that he explains complex principles in a straight-forward and concise way.  Given the importance of contract law to many other areas of law, this is some achievement.

If you are serious about understanding contract law, whether or not you are a student or a practitioner, Ewan McKendrick's Contract Law is (and continues to be) an indispensable text.  It is extremely well-written: being accessible whilst, at the same time, allowing the reader to become quickly familiar with the major contract law principles.  This is the brilliance of Contract Law: a reader will rarely become lost in doctrine, case law and legislation (but the key issues are flagged).  The major principles are set out logically meaning that the reader, who may have little or no understanding of contract law, can quickly grasp and apply them.  These features, combined with the excellent summaries at the each of each chapter, mean Contract Law should appear on the bookshelf of any self-respecting contract lawyer.

Reviewed on 10 August 2014

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