Objective approach

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An objective approach to interpretation means the court interprets the words or conduct according to what it would lead a reasonable person to believe.[1] The objective approach is distinct from the subjective approach in that it doesn't consider the actual or 'inner' desires and opinions of the party, but simply what it outwardly manifests.

The objective approach prevails over the subjective approach in most areas of law. This is because it is impossible for the court to Instances are listed below.

Contents

Contracts 1

Offer

Main article: offer

When determining whether an offer has been made, the courts objectively determine whether the conduct of the Offeror was such that would lead a reasonable person in the position of the Offeree to think that an offer has been made.[2]

Acceptance

Main article: acceptance

When determining whether the Offeree has accepted an offer, the courts objectively determine whether the conduct of the Offeree was such that would lead a reasonable person in the position of the Offeror to think that his offer has been accepted.[3]

Legal intention

Main article: legal intention

When determining whether a party had an intention to initiate legal relations, the court objectively determines whether a reasonable person in the position of the party regarded the agreement as intended to be binding.[4]

Contracts 2

Construction

Main article: construction

When construing the meaning behind terms, the court considers what a reasonable person in the position of the party would have understood them to mean.[5]

Misrepresentation

Main article: misrepresentation

When determining whether a representation made by one party led to the adoption of an erroneous assumption by the other, the court considers what a reasonable person in the position of the other party would have understood the representation to mean.

Misleading or deceptive conduct

Main article: misleading or deceptive conduct

Similarly to misrepresentation, when determining whether the conduct of one party led to the adoption of an erroneous assumption by the other,the court considers what a reasonable person in the position of the other party would have understood the conduct to mean.

References

  1. Toll (FGCT) Pty Ltd v Alphapharm Pty Ltd (2004) 219 CLR 165, 179 [40]
  2. Carlil v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co [1893] 1 QB 256
  3. Toll (FGCT) Pty Ltd v Alphapharm Pty Ltd (2004) 219 CLR 165, 179 [40]
  4. Merritt v Merritt [1970] 1 WLR 1211, 1213
  5. Pacific Carriers v BNP Paribas (2004) 218 CLR 451, 462
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