Skip to main content Accessibility help


  • Janet O'Sullivan

LIKE the interpretation of the express words in a contract, the implication of terms in fact is traditionally explained as a way of the court giving effect to what the parties intended, judged objectively. So the two processes have something in common at a high level of generality. Much more controversial is the suggestion, made by Lord Hoffmann giving the opinion of the Privy Council in Attorney General of Belize v Belize Telecom Ltd. [2009] 1 W.L.R. 1988, that the process of implying terms is merely an aspect of interpretation: “There is only one question: is that what the instrument, read as a whole against the relevant background, would reasonably be understood to mean?” This analysis, which generated intense academic debate, had not been considered by the Supreme Court until the recent decision in Marks and Spencer plc v BNP Paribas Securities Services Trust Company (Jersey) Ltd. [2015] UKSC 72.

Corresponding author
Address for Correspondence: Selwyn College, Cambridge, CB3 9DQ,UK. Email:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Cambridge Law Journal
  • ISSN: 0008-1973
  • EISSN: 1469-2139
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-law-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed