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SILENCE IS GOLDEN: IMPLIED TERMS IN THE SUPREME COURT

  • Janet O'Sullivan
Extract

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.

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Corresponding author
Address for Correspondence: Selwyn College, Cambridge, CB3 9DQ,UK. Email: jao21@cam.ac.uk
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The Cambridge Law Journal
  • ISSN: 0008-1973
  • EISSN: 1469-2139
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-law-journal
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