Oliver Wendell Holmes famously wrote that "[t]he only universal consequence of a legally binding promise is, that the law, makes the promisor pay damages if the promised event does not come to pass". In his analysis, Holmes focused exclusively on the remedy of specific performance. This has remained the approach until today and has been the foundation for the traditional wisdom that the protection of performance is much stronger in the civil law than in the common law. I want to question this wisdom and to broaden the analysis. A more systematic approach to the problem has to look at all institutes that functionally serve to protect the performance in natura of a contract. This includes injunctions (Lumley v Wagner), remedies against third parties (Lumley v Gye) and the possibility of a debtor to render performance even against the wishes of the creditor (White and Carter (Councils) Ltd. v. McGregor). It will be shown that the protection of performance in natura under the common law is much more complex than usually believed.
A sandwich lunch will be available from 12.30. The meeting will begin at 1pm.