The decision of the Court of Appeal at the end of last year in Skanska Rashleigh Weatherfoil v Somerfield Stores may mark a significant change in the courts' approach to contractual interpretation. In what was another reminder of the risks associated with letters of intent (and best practice remains to exercise great caution when using them), the court stepped back from the purposive approach to construing contracts, which has been in judicial vogue of late. Until Skanska, judges had been using the factual circumstances and commercial common sense to interpret vague terms – in this case, deciding that a letter of intent that "adopted" the terms of a draft (but yet to be agreed) contract could not be given a literal meaning. However, the Court of Appeal emphasised that the surrounding circumstances and commercial common sense did not represent a licence to the court to rewrite a contract merely because its terms appeared unexpected, a little unreasonable or not commercially very wise. In Skanska, the fact that the draft contract had yet to be agreed for the duration of the project did not mean that it should not apply in full for the limited period of the letter of intent.