Interpretation and contractual intention

Some issues concerning the partial invalidity of the contract




interpretation of the contract, supplementary interpretation, implied contract terms, partial invalidity, severability, divisibility of contract, hypothetical intention


The interpretation of both the judicial act and the contract is an essential and much-researched topic of contract law since interpretative questions relating to the contract are raised in almost all cases. The intention is a basic ‘building block’ of contractual agreements, therefore, in case of a legal dispute, revealing the parties’ real intention is indispensable. Nevertheless, there are also cases where the application of certain legal consequences raises the need for interpretation. For instance, when a ground for invalidity concerns only a certain part of the contract, the legislator provides partial invalidity or the invalidity of the contract in its entirety. Regardless of what type of invalidity is declared as a general rule, contractual parties, or in case of debate, the court shall decide about the legal status of the parties’ contract. In the lack of the parties’ expressed declaration, the decision shall be made on the real, interpreted, or ultimately, on the hypothetic contractual intention of the parties.

In the study, both the issues of the interpretation of the contract and the problem of partial invalidity are examined comprehensively by the review and analysis of both the Hungarian and foreign literature. It is also reviewed, how the interpretation theories and methods can help the exploration of the contractual parties’ real intention, if parties did not provide the future legal status of their contract for the case of partial invalidity.