Interpretation of Written Contracts
The topic of interpretation of written contracts is of central importance in arbitration practice. The English principles have developed fast in recent decades and the law remains in a state of radical, hectic, and sometimes perplexing development or doctrinal re-examination. However, some points have survived this wave of change. For example, English law does not, in general, permit a party to adduce evidence of pre-contractual negotiations in an attempt to illuminate the final text, but such evidence is regularly admitted if the same party adds a claim for rectification of the document. Another controversy is whether, even without resorting to the doctrine of rectification, the ordinary system of interpretation should permit the adjudicator to alter the text in order to give effect to the clear double conclusion (drawn simply from within the four corners of the document) that the text is obviously defective and obviously capable of being patched up.