The doctrine of consideration: dead or alive in English employment contracts?

Barry Hough, A. Spowart-Taylor

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The doctrine of consideration, with its emphasis upon exchange, and its general rejection of 'more for the same', seems inadequate for the modern environment in which flexible rewards may reflect the employer's concern that the importance of individual staff to an enterprise may not remain constant and may alter as the commercial context in which their work is performed fluctuates. Although versions of the classical doctrine have exercised an important influence in English employment law, there now appears to be a noticeable disinclination to use the doctrine as a problem-solving technique. This is especially so in relation to the variation vases as well as those concerned with the enforcement of apparently gratuitous benefits in formal policies, such as equal opportunities policies. It will be argued that the classical doctrine is either falling into desuetude or that it has been substantially revised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-211
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Contract Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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