England’ (1992) 66 Tulane LR 1615, pp 1616–17). Do common lawyers reason in the same way as the classical Roman lawyers?
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Bingham LJ:… During the hearing the questions were raised: what if, in a situation such as the present, the council had opened and thereupon accepted the first tender received, even though the deadline had not expired and other invitees had not yet responded? Or if the council had considered and accepted a tender admittedly received well after the deadline? [Counsel for the defendant] answered that although by so acting the council might breach its own standing orders, and might fairly be accused of discreditable conduct, it would not be in breach of any legal obligation because at that stage there would be none to breach. This is a conclusion I cannot accept. And if it were accepted there would in my view be an unacceptable discrepancy between the law of contract and the confident assumptions of commercial parties…

Re Rowland [1963] Ch 1 Court of Appeal

Lord Denning MR (dissenting):… I decline…to ask myself: what do the words mean to a grammarian? I prefer to ask: What did Dr Rowland and his wife mean by the word ‘coincide’ in their wills? When they came to make their wills it is not difficult to piece together the thoughts that ran through their minds. The doctor might well say: ‘We are going off for three years to these far off places and in case anything happens to either of us we ought to make our wills. If I die before you, I would like everything to go to you, but if you die before me, I should like it to go to my brother and his boy’. She might reply: ‘Yes, but what if we both die together. After all, one of those little ships might run on the rocks or something and we might both be drowned; or we might both be killed in an aeroplane crash’. To meet that,’ he would say, ‘I will put in that if your death coincides with mine, it is to go to my brother and his boy just the same’. He would use the words ‘coinciding with’, not in the narrow meaning of ‘simultaneous’, but in the wider meaning of which they are equally capable, especially in this context, as denoting death on the same occasion by the same cause. It would not cross Dr Rowland’s mind that anyone would think of such niceties as counsel for the first defendant has presented to us.