|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
A complete contract is an important concept from contract theory.
If the parties to an agreement could specify their respective rights and duties for every possible future state of the world, their contract would be complete. There would be no gaps in the terms of the contract.
However, because it would be prohibitively expensive to write a complete contract, contracts in the real world are usually incomplete. When a dispute arises and the case falls into a gap in the contract, either the parties must engage in bargaining or the courts must step in and fill in the gap. The idea of a complete contract is closely related to the notion of default rules, e.g. legal rules that will fill the gap in a contract in the absence of an agreed upon provision.
- Lawrence Solum, Default Rules and Completeness, Legal Theory Lexicon.