L'interpretazione del contratto secondo le corti superiori del Regno Unito

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Abstract

The essay takes into consideration the 2015 decision of the Supreme Court in Arnold v. Britton regarding the interpretation of a written contract in which the majority ruled that the court must identify the intention of the parties by reference to «a reasonable person having all the background knowledge which would have been available to the parties». It is worth paying attention to the fact that, in delivering the lead judgment, Lord Neuberger stated that, whilst reliance must be placed on commercial common sense, this should not lead to the importance of the language in the provision being underrated and that even if the contractual arrangement has worked out badly or even disastrously this is not a reason for departing from the natural meaning of the language. In this respect, the 2015 decision on the principles of contractual interpretation re-emphasises that whilst commercial common sense can be an aid to construction, the starting point must be the «natural meaning» of the words used put «in their documentary, factual and commercial context». In so doing the decision of the Supreme Court seems to depart from the 2009 judgment of the House of Lords in Chartbrook Ltd v. Persimmon Homes Ltd in which Lord Hoffmann stated that there is no limit to verbal rearrangement that the court may deploy to give a sensible commercial meaning when construing a contract in its bargaining context. After having examined the decision of the Supreme Court and the decision of the House of Lords, the essay looks at the peculiar objective method adopted in the English common law in interpreting written contract by focusing on two related topics, that is to say the notion of a «reasonable man» and what can properly be regarded as the background or «matrix of facts». To sum up, the essay looks at the dissenting opinion of Lord Carnwath in Arnold v. Britton to make clear that - as recently observed in the legal literature - the topic of the interpretation of written contract is “fast moving” and that there are at least two different opposing views: one literalist, in which the attention is given to the natural meaning of the words used by the parties; the other purposive – that is much more liberal - that focuses on the commercial context and allows an «interpretation by re-construction of the text».Abstract in italianoIl saggio prende in esame la decisione della Supreme Court resa nel 2015 nel caso Arnold v. Britton in tema di interpretazione contrattuale. Nella sentenza, resa solo a maggioranza, si precisa che compito del giudice è quello di identificare la comune intenzione delle parti, adottando, come metro di valutazione, lo standard di una «reasonable person having all the background knowledge which would have been available to the parties». L’interesse verso la pronuncia nasce dal fatto che nella leading opinion di Lord Neuberger si chiarisce che, se da un lato è opportuno considerare il commercial common sense, dall’altro, l’uso di questo strumento interpretativo non può portare a sottovalutare l’importanza dell’elemento letterale del contratto, nemmeno nel caso in cui il contratto abbia avuto degli esiti rovinosi per una delle parti. La decisione del 2015, dunque, mette in rilievo il fatto che, mentre il commercial common sense rappresenta un aiuto interpretativo, l’elemento letterale rimane il punto di partenza di ogni indagine interpretativa. Così statuendo, la sentenza della Supreme Court sembra discostarsi dalla pronuncia resa nel 2009 dalla House of Lords nel caso Chartbrook Ltd v. Persimmon Homes Ltd, in cui Lord Hoffmann aveva affermato ch
Lingua originaleItalian
pagine (da-a)95-135
Numero di pagine41
RivistaEUROPA E DIRITTO PRIVATO
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2016

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