doctrine of reasonable expectations

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Legal principle that, in general, the provisions of a contract are to be interpreted according to what a reasonable person (who is not trained in the law) would interpret them. This doctrine is particularly applicable in adhesion contracts (such as bank lendings and insurance policies) or where a provision is open to more than one interpretation. It favors the objectively reasonable expectations of the weaker party (borrower or insured) although the language of the provision(s) does not explicitly supports them. Also called reasonable expectations doctrine.

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