Pre-contractual agreements

Kleinhans, Brittany Lily Evelyn (2020-03)

Thesis (LLM)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: As modern commercial transactions become larger and more complex, business professionals have resorted to various instruments or agreements aimed at regulating and progressing the negotiation process. Some of these instruments can even strongly resemble a contract, but are preliminary in form, and as such give rise to uncertainty as to their enforceability. The diverse range of agreements concluded prior to a principal contract, which may be termed pre-contractual agreements, are the focus of critical examination in this thesis. The nature and legal consequences of pre-contractual agreements are both uncertain and controversial. This is in large part due to the fact that the term “precontractual” does not refer to a specific type of agreement with a standardised legal content but rather to the stage at which the agreement is concluded. In this thesis, the various types of pre-contractual agreements are catergorised according to their function so as to establish which of these agreements, if any, meet the validity requirements for a contract and thus give rise to legal consequences. Particular focus is placed on the legal nature and consequences of various types of agreements to negotiate. Due to the limited local case law and academic literature on pre-contractual agreements and the broader topic of pre-contractual liability, comparative observations can form a central component in the formulation of potential solutions to the obstacles presented by these agreements. With the benefit of comparative analysis the conclusion is reached that a sound framework to regulate the precontractual phase can be established through the development of the law of contract to enforce specific types of agreements to negotiate. To analyse all the potential legal consequences arising from pre-contractual agreements comprehensively, the scope of the analysis extends beyond the law of contract to consider the potential remedies that may lie in other sources of law, such as the law of delict and the law of unjustified enrichment. The conclusion is reached that both the law of delict and the law of unjustified enrichment can serve as valuable sources of pre-contractual liability to rectify potential injustices that may arise during the presently unregulated pre-contractual phase.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Namate moderne kommersiële transaksies groter en meer ingewikkeld geword het, het sakelui verskillende instrumente of ooreenkomste begin gebruik om die onderhandelingsproses te reguleer. Sommige van hierdie instrumente kan selfs sterk ooreenkomste met ‘n kontrak vertoon, maar weens hulle voorlopige aard heers daar onsekerheid oor hul afdwingbaarheid. Die fokus van hierdie tesis is die uiteenlopende groep ooreenkomste wat as ‘voor-kontraktuele ooreenkomste’ beskryf kan word omdat hulle tot stand kom voordat ‘n hoofkontrak tot stand kom. Die aard en regsgevolge van voor-kontraktuele ooreenkomste is onseker en omstrede. Die onsekerheid onstaan grootliks omdat die begrip “voor-kontraktueel” nie na ‘n spesifieke tipe ooreenkoms met ‘n standaard regsinhoud verwys nie, maar eeder na die stadium waarop die ooreenkoms tot stand kom. In hierdie tesis word die verskillende tipes voor-kontraktuele ooreenkomste volgens funksie gekategoriseer om te bepaal watter van hierdie ooreenkomste, indien enige, aan die geldigheidsvereistes van ‘n kontrak voldoen en sodoende regsgevolge sal hê. Die aard en regsgevolge van “ooreenkomste om te onderhandel” is hier van spesifieke belang. Weens die beperkte omvang van plaaslike regspraak en akademiese literatuur oor voor-kontraktuele ooreenkomste, asook die breër onderwerp van voor kontraktuele aanspreeklikheid, kan regsvergelykende perspektiewe nuttig wees om ‘n raamwerk te skep waarbinne die regulering van die voor-kontraktuele fase hanteer kan word. Die kontraktereg kan sodoende uitgebrei word om sekere tipes “ooreenkomste om te onderhandel” afdwingbaar te maak. Selfs ‘n meer uitgebreide kontrakteregbedeling sal egter nie voldoende wees om al die moontlike regsgevolge van voor-kontraktuale ooreenkomste omvattend te ontleed nie. Ander regsgebiede, naamlik die deliktereg en die verrykingsreg, moet ook betrek word by die ondersoek. Die gevolgtrekking word bereik dat die deliktereg sowel as die verrykingsreg as waardevolle bronne van voor-kontraktuele aanspreeklikheid kan dien. Sodoende kan gebreke in die ongereguleerde voor-kontraktuele fase reggestel word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/108069
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