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The battle of forms: a comparative analysis

Sieg Eiselen and Sebastian K Bergenthal
The Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa
Vol. 39, No. 2 (JULY 2006), pp. 214-240
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23252636
Page Count: 27
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The battle of forms: a comparative analysis
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Abstract

The battle of forms is a contract law problem caused by the use of conflicting standard terms and conditions by parties during the negotiations phase of a transaction. According to the traditional mirror image approach to offer and acceptance every time a party seeks to introduce its own standard terms, it amounts to a counter-offer with the result that the party who gets the last shot in, will win this battle of forms. Most legal systems have recognised that this is an unsatisfactory solution to the problem and a number of different solutions have been developed to resolve the issue. In this article the various approaches adopted in the American Uniform Commercial Code, the German Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch, the Unidroit Principles International Sale of Goods, 1980 are discussed in comparative perspective in order to arrive at a reasoned proposal for the solution that should ideally be adopted. It is proposed that the last shot rule should be rejected and the knock-out approach should be favoured.

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