REUTERS | Sergei Karpukhin

Survey: commercial expectations and cooperation in symbiotic contracts

In my former career, I was an in-house lawyer at Alstom and then Siemens, and now following my retirement I am a part-time Honorary Associate Professor of Law at the University of Leicester. In this capacity I carried out a large-scale survey of people who run modern complex contracts, including the lawyers involved. My research suggested that lawyers are different as they have a tendency to be slightly more risk-averse, which didn’t surprise me. In my view, the results of my research strengthen the case for involving in-house counsel in management decisions to ensure that a wider range of views is taken into account in corporate and commercial decision making.

The research will be published in a book called Commercial Expectations and Cooperation in Symbiotic Contracts – A Legal and Empirical Analysis. Essentially the book argues for deeper investigation into a contract’s background and that more attention should be paid to ensuring that the contract can be performed successfully by importing detailed duties to cooperate and communicate. It argues against duties of good faith and the use of implied terms, and instead suggests that the need for cooperation emerges from the needs of the contract at hand and the expectations of the parties.

My research is largely focused on contract law and contract management, and as a new step I have been looking at how people make decisions. I am trying to obtain a larger, stratified sample (by length of experience) to see whether I can explain the difference between lawyers and other professionals. The survey is short, wholly anonymous, and run on the UK Universities’ standard online survey tool. It asks for length of experience, an example of a commercial decision, such as a commercial investment decision, and one optional question. It should take between five to seven minutes to complete.

Follow this link to take the survey.

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