Contract law's one ultimate value, Dagan and Heller tell us, is autonomy. An autonomous person is the author of her own life. Such a person must be independent – others must not determine her life for her. Moreover, she must have a significant ‘range of options’: numerous and various alternatives to choose among. Contract law enhances a person's autonomy by allowing her to enlist others for the pursuit of her goals – whether economic (‘utility’) or non‐economic social gains such as companionship or trust (‘community’).Dagan and Heller argue that, given their conception of autonomy, it follows that contracts must be voluntary transactions. But the authors also seek to bring out another, less familiar implication. The law should provide diverse ‘types’ of contracts for people to choose among – thereby enhancing their range of options and so their autonomy. Accordingly, the unifying ambitions of contract treatise‐writers and theorists, who tend to favour general rules that apply across all contracts, should be resisted. Instead the law should promote a proliferation of contract types within each sphere of human activity. For example, buyers of goods should be free to choose whether to purchase ‘as is’ or to benefit from consumer protections; workers
The Modern Law Review – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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