==============================  CFJ 1901  ==============================

    Y is a contract.

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Caller:                                 omd

Judge:                                  Zefram
Judgement:                              


Judge:                                  Zefram
Judgement:                              TRUE

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History:

Called by omd:                          04 Feb 2008 16:01:45 GMT
Assigned to Zefram:                     04 Feb 2008 18:29:24 GMT
Zefram recused:                         04 Feb 2008 18:36:25 GMT
Assigned to Zefram:                     04 Feb 2008 18:36:25 GMT
Judged TRUE by Zefram:                  05 Feb 2008 13:29:14 GMT

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Gratuitous Arguments by G.:

CFJ 1892 covered contracts that claim to be non-binding, but contain
obligations.  Contracts that claim (explicitly or implicitly) to be binding,
but contain no obligations, are a different kettle of fish and I don't think
they've been tested.  Perhaps it's simple: the agreement between parties
that a binding contract exists should be taken, prima facie, as a binding
obligation for both parties to acknowledge the existence of the contract.

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Judge Zefram's Arguments:

Y clearly does not impose any explicit obligations.  Its entire explicit
content is a definition (of the name "Y").  Goethe proposes finding
an implicit obligation, to acknowledge the existence of the contract.
However, that is not supported by any rule or prior jurisprudence.
Likewise for any other administrative obligation.  There are certain
automatic obligations that result from the existence of a contract,
such as the rule 2149 obligation to not publicly deny its existence.
However, such rule-defined obligations are not qualitatively different
from those that result from holding offices, voting, and other game
activities that do not involve a general-purpose instrument of obligation.
These obligations are imposed by the rules, not contracts.  So I find
that Y does not impose any obligations.

CFJ 1892 has found that an agreement that is not binding is not a
contract.  It was concerned with an agreement that contained a clause,
taking precedence over the others, which explicitly denied that the
agreement was binding.  The judge also referred to a prior example
where an agreement contained a clause explicitly denying that it was a
contract.  In these cases the agreement was found to be self-nullifying:
the disclaimer clause meant that the agreement was not binding, not
a contract, and therefore was categorically incapable of imposing
obligations.

Three interesting properties of agreements have so far been considered.
These properties are that an agreement may

    P0: be binding
    P1: impose obligations
    P2: be a contract

It is of the essence of our contract law that an agreement with properties
P0 and P1 also has P2, and thus falls under the purview of the various
rules governing contracts.  CFJ 1892 has found that an agreement that
lacks P0 also lacks P1 and P2.  This leaves open the question of the
contractness of an agreement with property P0 but not P1, and indeed
whether there is any distinction between P0 and P1.  Having already found
that Y lacks P1, if P0 and P1 are identical then Y would fall under the
ruling of CFJ 1892 and also lack P2.  On the other hand, if P0 and P1
are distinct, then Y might have P0 and might have P2.

I find that being binding and imposing obligations are distinct
properties.  They are different aspects of the contract nature.
Being binding is a prerequisite for (effectively) imposing obligations,
but it nevertheless makes sense for an agreement to be binding even if
it doesn't (presently, or ever) use that power to bind the parties to
any obligations.

I also find that the appropriate definition of contract is "a binding
agreement", as quoted by the judge in CFJ 1892 and inferrable from the
first two sentences of rule 1742.  The rules have no explicit requirement
that a contract impose obligations on its parties; they merely give it
the power to do so.

That is, an agreement has property P2 if and only if it has property P0,
regardless of whether it has property P1.

The question that remains is whether Y is binding (and so is a contract).
The instrument of its formation shows clear intent that it be a contract,
and so intent that it be binding.  At the time the CFJ was called,
there had been no opportunity for the parties to agree to dissolve or
amend it.  Having found the lack of imposed obligations irrelevant, I see
no other reason why Y would fail to qualify as binding under the rules.
I therefore judge CFJ 1901 TRUE.

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Judge Zefram's Evidence:

|Message-ID: <6bf32280802040801r93bb10do7281c247581983ef@mail.gmail.com>
|From: comex <comexk@gmail.com>
|To: agora-business@agoranomic.org
|Subject: BUS: Hmm...
|Date: Mon, 4 Feb 2008 11:01:45 -0500
|
|I create a contract with the AFO with the text:
|{
|1. The name of this contract is Y.
|}
|
|I CFJ on the statement: Y is a contract.

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