Royal Court moves Jersey’s contract law in the right direction

A recent decision of the Royal Court has held that when determining whether or not parties have consented to entering into a contract and as to the terms of that contract, an objective test should be applied by the Court rather than what each party might have privately intended.

Le Cocq, Deputy Bailiff so found in Calligo Ltd v PBS CI Ltd [2017] JRC 159, holding that it would “be unsatisfactory, if adopting the subjective approach, to reach a result where a party to a contract who believes that he has entered into a binding arrangement finds that it is of no effect because of some unknown but private intention of the other party.” The Deputy Bailiff further stated that it was important that Jersey law was developed to achieve “clarity and certainty.”

In following the postscript raised in Home Farm Developments Ltd v Le Sueur [2015] JCA 242 on this point, the Royal Court has not followed the criticism expressed on that postscript by a former judge of the Royal Court in the Jersey & Guernsey Law Review:

In the view of our legal practice, this decision is to be welcomed. It can sometimes feel that areas of Jersey law are maintained like an historic building and despite the fact that it becomes wholly unsuitable for the residents seeking to enjoy it. A little updating will only improve the fabric of our law and give it the strength to last.