Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Form, Substance, and Neo-Proceduralism in Comparative Contract Law: Law in Books and Law in Action in New Zealand, England, the United States of America, and Japan

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posted on 2021-11-08, 20:29 authored by Nottage, Luke Richard

Part One of this thesis develops the "form-substance" analytical framework proposed by Atiyah and Summers to contrast English and US law generally, comparing also New Zealand and especially Japanese law. From this perspective, it argues that both US and Japanese law prefer distinctly more substantive reasoning, whereas both English and New Zealand law maintain a more formal orientation. Part Two focuses on three areas of contract law, and the development of contract law theory, arguing that the framework helps explain differing approaches adopted in these jurisdictions. Closer attention to the "law in action" as well as the "law in books", however, results in refinements to their analytical framework. It also suggests that "neo-proceduralist" models of law generally, and private law in particular, may be becoming increasingly important in both explaining and justifying developments in all four legal systems. Part Three introduces several of these models, which go beyond "form-substance" dichotomies without necessarily being inconsistent with them. This thesis therefore aims to offer new perspectives in three disciplines: comparative legal studies, contract law, and general legal theory.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Doctor of Philosophy

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Law


Angelo, Tony