Postdoc position falling under the framework project “Long-term private and public contracts – flexibility and stability”

Long-term contracts play a vital role in modern societies. They are used by private as well as public enterprises, including as a basis for providing services of a public or semi-public nature. Long-term contracts are often complex and require a certain cooperation between the parties. In this respect, they can require adaptations in the course of performance. It is a fundamental challenge of long-term contracts, on the one hand, to ensure stable business conditions and, on the other hand, to allow a flexible adaptation of the contract to evolving circumstances. To accommodate this need for flexibility, long-term contracts can contain variation clauses or renegotiation clauses (often combined with a notion of hardship). They can also, more generally, use open terms combined with procedural clauses to handle situations in which parties, during the term of the contract, fail to agree on the specificities of such open terms.

The aim of this post doc project is to explore this use of procedural solutions to address the need for flexibility in long-term contracts. The project should identify and analyse the legal problems created by these procedural solutions, and how these solutions affect traditional contract law theory. The project should, at least, explore the following issues: What obligations do these procedural solutions impose on the parties? How should a third party determine open contract terms – both as regards procedure and substantive norms? To what extent is such third party determination an arbitral award? Can it be challenged before a court and, if so, on what grounds? Can the use of open terms affect the binding nature of the contract?

For further information, please contact professor Ole Hansen or associate professor Clement Salung Petersen.