Cowboy Contracts: The Arizona Supreme Court’s Grand Tradition of Transactional Fairness

Arizona common law insists upon transactional fairness, a tradition in keeping with the iconic ethos of the American cowboy as straightforward, trustworthy and self-reliant when necessary but also dependent on the surrounding community. Although not conventionally justified in economic terms, the Arizona approach to contract law is also efficient, increasing predictability, reducing transaction costs, and compensating for information asymmetries. In this 50th anniversary of the Arizona Law Review, and only four years from the state’s centennial, this Article celebrates the Arizona Supreme Court’s grand tradition of insisting upon transactional fairness and seeks to understand its elements and the structural features of the Arizona legal system that have allowed it to flourish, as well as the limits of the common law as a means to achieve policy goals.