The Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 allows third parties to sue for breach of contract even though they are not parties to the contract. The Act also allows third parties to take the benefit of other types of promise, notably the benefit of exclusion clauses. This article explains the common law background to this important legal development and the Law Commission’s preparation for this legislation (L.Com. No. 242). But the main discussion is devoted to the Act’s effects. In particular, the author examines in detail the test for ascribing to a third party a right under the 1999 Act and the rules determining when the third party’s rights cease to be revocable by the main contracting parties.
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