Die grondslag van kontraktuele gebondenheid

Olivier, Pierre J. J. (2004-04)

Thesis (LLD)--Stellenbosch University, 2004

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: An overview of the historical development of contract law and its underlying theory, spanning from Roman times to the present day, and in Western European and Anglo American systems, shows that the gradually developing will theory dominated in the early nineteenth century. It was, however, also in the nineteenth century that the first cracks in this theory were observed. First, sociological, political and economic factors, brought about by the Industrial Revolution, the rise of socialism and of labour, required a new, more humane approach. Secondly, with the emergence of a new economic system, new technical problems came to the fore: how were problems of mistake, interpretation, implied terms and derogation to be solved, unless reliance was placed, in each case, on untenable fictions? Thus, towards the last quarter of the nineteenth century, an intense and unparalleled juristic debate ensued, mainly in Europe, but later also in England and the United States of America. New approaches, e.g. that a strict and uncompromising declaration be followed, was proposed. The outcome of this debate was the emergence of the so-called confidence theory. The basis of this approach is that, whatever a person's real intention may have been, he so conducts himself as to lead the other party, as a reasonable person, to believe that the first party has assented to the contract as proposed or understood by the second party, the first party is bound by the impression he created. The principle was clearly stated by Blackburn J in Smith v Hughes (1871) LR 6 OB 597, which has since become one of the famous dicta in the law of contract, and forms part of the English law. It should be stressed that the Blackburn approach was not alien to Europe, where the gradual and natural development of the common law was overtaken by codification The French Codification retained the pure will theory. Under the Dutch code, the so-called will-reliance system was developed, akin to the Blackburn approach. In German law, however, the De Groot view was followed: the mistaken party was permitted to 'resile' from the 'contract' but under obligation to compensate the 'innocent' party's negative interest. In South Africa, the basic point of departure is the will theory but supplemented by the confidence theory This system is made possible by our law of procedure, where two remedies, the justus error approach and the contractual consent approach are available. As both these remedies have the same objective, viz. to protect the legitimate interests of the party that was misled, they require the same substantive law requirements. The confidence theory has imbedded itself so deeply in South African, European and English law, that it is now recognized by some as the key, not only to the solution of the dissensus problem, but also in cases of interpretation, supplementation and derogation. The combination of will and reliance are the foundation stones of contractual liability. These two principles have developed (and are still developing) from society's pre-positive, moral, ethical, political, economic, religious and other values, which have been and are still being absorbed in the body of legal rules. This process of development is informed by the norms and rules relating to public policy, public interest, the bani mores and good faith. These norms and rules are recognized and applied in the legal systems of the United States of America, England and Europe. They form part of our law, but unfortunately our courts are extremely conservative in recognizing and applying them. If we wish to obtain and sustain social and contractual justice, more weight should be accorded to these values.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: 'n Oorsig van die geskiedkundige ontwikkeling van die kontraktereg en die onderliggende teorie daarvan vanaf die Romeinse tyd tot vandag in sowel Wes-Europese as die Anglo-Amerikaanse stelsels, toon aan dat die geleidelik-ontwikkelende wilsteorie in die negentiende eeu die botoon gevoer het. Dis egter ook gedurende die negentiende eeu dat die eerste krake in hierdie teorie waargeneem is. Eerstens het sosiologiese, politieke en ekonomiese faktore, veroorsaak deur die Industriële Revolusie, 'n nuwe, meer menslike benadering geverg. Tweedens het nuwe, tegniese probleme ontstaan met die opkoms van 'n nuwe ekonomiese sisteem: hoe moes probleme soos dwaling, uitleg, stilswyende bepalings en derogasie opgelos word, tensy die oplossing in elke geval op onhoudbare fiksies moes berus? In die laaste kwart van die negentiende eeu het derhalwe 'n intense en ongeëwenaarde juridiese debat ontstaan, hoofsaaklik in Europa, maar later ook in Engeland en die VSA Nuwe benaderings, bv. dat slegs gelet word op die eksterne verklaring ter uitsluiting van enige subjektiewe bedoeling, is voorgestel. Die resultaat van hierdie debat was die ontwikkeling van die vertrouensteorie. Die basis van hierdie benadering is dat wat ookal 'n mens se werklike bedoeling mag gewees het, hy so opgetree het dat die ander party, redelikerwys, oortuig was dat die eerste party toegestem het tot die kontrak soos voorgestelof verstaan deur die tweede party die eerste party dan gebonde is aan die indruk wat hy geskep het. Die beginsel is duidelik gestel deur Blackburn R in Smith v Hughes (1871) LR 6 OB 597. Dit moet benadruk word dat die Blackburn benadering nie vreemd aan Europa was nie, waar die geleidelike en natuurlike ontwikkeling van die gemene reg deur kodifikasie kortgeknip is. Die Franse Kodifikasie het die suiwer wilsteorie behou. Die sogenaamde wils-vertrouens stelsel, soortgelyk aan die Blackburnbenadering, het onder die Nederlandse Kode ontwikkel, maar in Duitsland is die De Groot-benadering gevolg: die party wat homself vergis het, is toegelaat om uit die 'kontrak' terug te tree, maar onder die verpligting om die 'onskuldige' party se negatiewe interesse te vergoed. In Suid-Afrika is die basiese vertrekpunt die wilsteorie, maar aangevul deur die vertrouensteorie. Dit word moontlik gemaak deur ons prosesreg, waar twee remedies, die Justus error-benadering en die wilsooreenstemmings-benadering beskikbaar is. Aangesien beide hierdie remedies dieselfde mikpunt het, naamlik om die regmatige belange van die misleide party te beskerm, verg hulle dieselfde materiële regsvereistes. Die vertrouensteorie is so diep in die Suid-Afrikaanse, Europese en Engelse reg ingebed dat dit nou deur sommige mense erken word as die sleutel, nie alleen tot die oplossing van die dissensus probleem nie, maar ook in gevalle van uitleg, aanvulling en derogasie. Die kombinasie van wil en vertroue is die hoekstene van kontraktuele aanspreeklikheid. Hierdie twee begrippe het ontwikkel (en ontwikkel nog steeds) uit die gemeenskap se voor-positiewe, morele, etiese, staatkundige, ekonomiese, godsdiens- en ander waardes, wat in die regstelselopgeneem en beliggaam is en word. Hierdie ontwikkelingsproses berus op die norme en reëls betreffende openbare beleid, openbare belang, die boni mores en goeie trou en word erken en toegepas in die regstelsels van die VSA, Engeland en Europa. Dit maak deel uit van ons reg, maar ongelukkig is ons howe aartskonserwatief in die erkenning en toepassing daarvan. As ons maatskaplike en kontraktuele geregtigheid wil bekom en volhou, moet groter gewig aan hierdie waardes vergun word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/49919
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