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person could use contract to the benefit or the burden of a third party has been only reluctantly overcome and then, usually, by recourse either to fiction or to tort. The reason in the civil law for this reluctance is to be found in the idea of an in personam obligation itself: an obligation is a vinculum juris (legal chain) which binds only two named parties. If contract could confer rights or duties on third parties, then it would become a matter of iura in rem. In the common law, which did not inherit the legacy of Roman legal science, the problem of the third party is founded in the notion of consideration which must move from the promisee. Beswick indicates that the doctrine remains alive at common law, although legislation is set to intervene. Why do you think it is that the judges, who have often criticised the doctrine of privity, have not actually reformed the law themselves? 2 Jackson shows how the courts can outflank the doctrine if they wish. Sometimes this is done through the use of the tort of negligence (although the economic loss rule can present a problem) (see, for example, White v Jones, p 702). At other times, the courts find a collateral contract between one of the main contractors and the third party (see Lockett v Charles, p 161; The Eurymedon [1975] AC 154). What is interesting about Jackson is that it uses the law of remedies (damages) to allow the third parties to obtain compensation. The reasoning in the case has been criticised, subsequently, by the House of Lords in Woodar Investment Development Ltd v Wimpey Construction UK Ltd (1980] 1 WLR 277, but the actual decision was upheld. Does Jackson confirm that the law of actions in English law continues to play an important, independent and creative role in the development of the law of obligations?
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