Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The 'contra proferentem' rule

Contra proferentem is a rule of contractual interpretation which provides that an ambiguous term will be construed against the party that imposed its inclusion in the contract – or, more accurately, against (the interests of) the party who imposed it. The interpretation will therefore favor the party that did not insist on its inclusion. The rule applies only if, and to the extent that, the clause was included at the unilateral insistence of one party without having been subject to negotiation by the counter-party. Additionally, the rule applies only if a court determines the term to be ambiguous, which often forms the substance of a contractual dispute.

What this means is, where RTA (or any other entity issuing a consumer contract) rely on a clause which is deemed ambiguous (ie they think it says one thing but it can be read as something else) then the clause will be deemed to read in the favour of the other party (ie against RTA)


Complaints and Reviews said...

Does anyone have an example of whether this could, or has, applied?

Runako said...

This is a good blog on a tricky issue but only really touches the surface of the legal issues though. As the person in comment 1 has alluded to, the difficulty is in finding reported caselaw that supports this position. If Gill's case was County Court, then these are not generally reported.

In fact there aren't any reports of civil cases taken by Consumers under the regulations, which is i suppose what makes this blog and Gill's story so interesting.

I've made reference to this in my own blog arcticle, if this is ok - cardifflegal.com/blog/archives/106.

Anonymous said...

could be usefulln arguing the wording of clause 6 in the rta contract that refers to the withdrawl fee