O'Sullivan & Hilliard's The Law of Contract (2018 8 ed). p. 55.

3.23. The Ontario Court of Appeal suggested in Tilden Rent-A-Car Co v Clendenning (1978) that the rule was too absolute, and chose to distinguish L’Estrange. There, the defendant rented a car and signed the contract without reading it. On the back of the contract, in fine and faint print, was a clause seeking to limit the claimant’s liability. The court, applying orthodox offer and acceptance principles, held that a signature will only indicate acceptance of a term where it is reasonable for the other party to believe that the offeree really did agree to the term in question. While a court should be reluctant to find that a signature did not indicate acceptance of a particular term (otherwise commercial uncertainty would result), on the facts the term had not been accepted:

In ordinary commercial practice where there is frequently a sense of formality in the transaction, and where there is a full opportunity for the parties to consider the terms of the proposed contract submitted for signature, it might well be safe to assume that the party who attaches his signature to the contract intends by so doing to acknowledge his acquiescence to its terms, and that the other party entered into the contract upon that belief. This can hardly be said, however, where the contract is entered into in circumstances such as were present in this case.

What are some formal terms describing this syntax? How can a verb follow such as without another subject?

2 Answers 2


One could also say:

... entered into in such circumstances as were present in this case.

So I believe the explanation is not ellipsis but inversion. Such here is adjectival and "as were present" is an adverbial clause

  • 2
    I see no inversion.
    – tunny
    Nov 5, 2014 at 14:37
  • From in such circumstances as were present to in circumstances such as were present is probably the easiest way to interpret this sentence.
    – oerkelens
    Nov 5, 2014 at 14:43
  • @tunny: What do you see, a relative pronoun such?
    – TimR
    Nov 5, 2014 at 15:05
  • @oerkelens Thanks, but I don't understand your comment. Why did you bold such? Is your comment just the reverse direction of TRomano's answer?
    – user8712
    Dec 1, 2014 at 9:19
  • @LawArea51Proposal-Commit my comment illustrates the inversion that TRomano mentions and that tunny didn't see. Such was bolded to illustrate that circumstances and such swapped places in the sentence. My comment underlines why I think TRomano's answer deserved my +1 :)
    – oerkelens
    Dec 1, 2014 at 9:28

I believe that this usage of "such as" is short for "such as [aforementioned subject]."

This sentence is equivalent to:

This can hardly be said, however, where the contract is entered into, in circumstances such as those that were present in this case.

  • Thanks, but the sentence itself does NOT contain those that? Why can you add them to the sentence yourself?
    – user8712
    Dec 1, 2014 at 9:20

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