Exemption Clauses were bad enough but Contracts of Adhesion are much worse and “Administrative Process” is simply preposterous as a negotiation technique: Silence should NEVER be construed as agreement or acquiescence in the laws of contract, tort, or waiver of civil rights

Many in the modern “Patriot Movement” have become enamored of something they like to call “Administrative Process” whereby they recommend that letters be sent out demanding agreement or acquiescence.  They say that this is the ordinary norm of commercial practice.  I respectfully but emphatically demur. NEVER MAKE THIS MISTAKE: SILENCE IS NOT ACQUIESCENCE: CONTRACTS OF ADHESION SHOULD NEVER BE PERMITTED BEYOND SIMPLE AGREEMENTS TO PAY FOR SERVICES RENDERED.  THE GOVERNMENT AND CORPORATIONS NOW ROUTINELY DO WHAT THESE BRITISH BARRISTERS FOUND SO COMPLETELY REVOLTING in the quote below.  We cannot allow Governmental and Corporate entities to trample on our rights by the stealthy use of contracts of adhesion.  We must fight all implied, imprecise, or even completely unconscious waivers of our own rights, and so we should not seek to impose such implicit on others.  I go around in circles with various “Patriot” Advocates on this point.  We must NOT emulate what we hate in the processes utilized by the enemies of the culture of “open covenants, openly arrived at, openly agreed to.”   We must deny them the right to enforce secret agreements against us, and insist that every implied but unintended waiver of rights in contract, property, tort, criminal, or constitutional law is null and void.

None of you nowadays will remember the trouble we had – when I was called to the Bar – with exemption clauses. They were printed in small print on the back of tickets and order forms and invoices. They were contained in catalogues or timetables. They were held to be binding on any person who took them without objection. No one ever did object. He never read them or knew what was in them. No matter how unreasonable they were, he was bound. All this was done in the name of “freedom of contract.” But the freedom was all on the side of the big concern which had the use of the printing press. No freedom for the little man who took the ticket or order form or invoice. The big concern said, “Take it or leave it.” The little man had no option but to take it. The big concern could and did exempt itself from liability in its own interest without regard to the little man. It got away with it time after time. When the courts said to the big concern, “You must put it in clear words,” the big concern had no hesitation in doing so. It knew well that the little man would never read the exemption clauses or understand them.

It was a bleak winter for our law of contract. It is illustrated by two cases, Thompson v. London, Midland and Scottish Railway Co. [1930] 1 K.B. 41 (in which there was exemption from liability, not on the ticket, but only in small print at the back of the timetable, and the company were held not liable) and L’Estrange v. F. Graucob Ltd.[1934] 2 K.B. 394 (in which there was complete exemption in small print at the bottom of the order form, and the company were held not liable).

 George Mitchell (Chesterhall) Ltd v Finney Lock Seeds Ltd, Lord Denning MR 

Alfred Thompson “Tom” Denning, Baron Denning, OM, PC, DL, KC (23 January 1899 – 5 March 1999), commonly known as Lord Denning, was a British soldier, mathematician, lawyer and judge. He gained degrees in mathematics and law at Oxford University.  I cannot possibly count the number of his cases and opinions in contract & tort we read in Law School at the University of Chicago, although he was .

The heyday of “freedom of contract” foreshadowed the modern world in ominous ways—even these “contracts of adhesion” were more explicit and obvious “to the little guy” than most that are upheld in the Courts today.  (With Thanks to the Courtesy of PYF, Tierra Limpia/Deo Vindice Foundation, 603 Elmwood Place Austin, Texas 78705).

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