I. Introduction to the Legal Significance of Promise Making
The goal of this chapter is to introduce you to some of the fundamental questions that organize our study of contract law and theory. At least initially, we will focus exclusively on the judge-made rules of the “common law.” Prior judicial decisions—often referred to as “precedents”—comprise the only legally authoritative source of the common law. However, the American Law Institute (ALI), a prestigious organization of judges, professors and practicing lawyers, has promulgated “Restatements” for many core areas of the law, including contracts. We will study various sources of contract law in more detail soon, but for the moment, bear in mind that the Restatement (Second) of Contracts (1981), [hereinafter Restatement (Second)], quoted repeatedly in these reading materials is a highly influential formulation of the law of contracts.