Review of Keith Hylton’s ‘Waivers’

JOTWELL – ICLE Academic Affiliate Keith Hylton’s paper “Waivers” was reviewed by David Hoffman in the online journal JOTWELL. You can read full piece here.

There is nothing more worth celebrating than articles you learn from even when you think they are wrong from soup to nuts. Keith Hylton’s new draft, Waivers, is that kind of piece for me. In the paper, Professor Hylton considers waivers, which as Professor Bob Hillman once described, are “crazy stuff.” They aren’t necessarily contracts and need no consideration; they extinguish legal rights with the lightest of touches, but can be retracted just as easily, except when they can’t; and they are subject to a policing regime that varies considerably between states and across time. Is waiver x enforceable can be one of the most difficult questions for contract and tort jurists to answer. And yet, as the Waiver Society Project has illustrated, waivers are increasingly ubiquitous. We need clear thinking about this phenomenon, and Waivers is therefore a paper I like lots, even though I reject its premises, analysis and conclusion.