In this Article we are not endeavouring to engage in the debate at the level of theory. Rather, we are responding to the absence of any empirical verification of the assumptions on which the theory proceeds. Whether broad principles or detailed rules produce more just or more predictable outcomes is a question that has largely been left to the realm of speculative analysis. Additionally, no empirical studies have been conducted despite commentators' occasional requests for them. In this Article we report the results of three experiments involving the participation of 1800 subjects (law students and non-law students) in the resolution of disputes and the evaluation of judgments, using three different law models: (1) the common law of contracts (Case Law); (2) UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, a model code published by the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law in 1994 (UPICC); (3) the Australian Contract Code, a model code, written by us, and published by the Law Reform Commission of Victoria in 1992 (ACC). The research on which this Article is based was prompted by our interest in the codification of Australian contract law. In order to demonstrate its relevance to the jurisprudential debate, it is necessary to give some description of each of these three models.
M. P. Ellinghaus & E. W. Wright,
The Common Law of Contracts: Are Broad Principles Better Than Detailed Rules? An Empirical Investigation,
Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.37419/TWLR.V11.I2.10