Interpretive Disputes in Contract Law

5 June 2019




Speaker: Dr Ryan Catterwell, The University of Queensland

In this CLE seminar, Dr Ryan Catterwell sets out practical guidance for dealing with interpretive disputes in contract law. Dr Catterwell claims that contract interpretation is a process through which objective intention is inferred from the choice of words in a contract. The interpretive process involves four steps: define the question of interpretation; identify the competing constructions; formulate arguments in favour of each construction; and weigh and balance the competing arguments to arrive at the interpretation that was probably intended. The "correct" construction is the one that is established to the highest degree of probability. Hence, an interpretive dispute is determined by analysing the arguments in favour of each interpretation—arguments that are constructed from the admissible materials, ie, the potential meanings for the words, the background to the transaction, the objects served by the contract and the consequences of the competing interpretations. Dr Catterwell demonstrates how interpretation works in practice by reference to simple hypothetical examples and a small selection of well-known seminal cases.

Chair: The Honourable Kevin Lindgren QC

CPD point: 1

This seminar is sponsored by the Ross Parsons Centre at Sydney Law School.


Time: 1-2PM (light lunch from 12.45pm)

Location: CBD Campus, Level 18, 133 Castlereagh Street, Sydney (Stockland Building)

Cost: Complimentary, however registration is essential.

Contact: Professional Learning & Community Engagement

Phone: 02 9351 0429

Email: 2357345b4e3d555e194502461017212041651721011f4e33