LAW 7128 - Advanced Contract Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2014

The law of contract is of fundamental importance in regulating commercial and other transactions. This course will examine recent developments and emerging issues in this core area of law. Possible topics include: -the control of unconscionable conduct and unfair contract terms; -obligations of good faith and fair dealing; -requirements to disclose information in pre-contractual negotiations; -the interpretation of contracts and the principle of 'commercial construction'; -the use of exclusion and indemnity clauses; -assessing damages for breach of contract; -the status of preliminary agreements; -illegality, public policy and the doctrine of restraint of trade; and -the regulation of international contracts. These and other important aspects of the law of contract will be addressed from a practical, commercial and comparative perspective.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 7128
    Course Advanced Contract Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Intensive
    Prerequisites Non-Law graduates must complete LAW 7094 or equivalent & LAW 7092 or equivalent
    Assessment TBA
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Andrew Stewart

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Knowledge and Understanding
    This course is designed to study recent developments and emerging issues in the law of contract.
    Students who complete the course should:
    1. have an advanced understanding of the principles of Australian contract law regarding the topics covered in the course;
    2. be able to apply those principles to problem-solving exercises;
    3. understand how Australian law differs from approaches taken in other countries in certain respects;
    4. understand the social and practical context in which Australian contract law operates;
    5. be able to critically evaluate the purposes and effects of Australian contract law;
    6. develop students’ abilities to discuss issues and problems and to lead discussion on selected parts of the course materials.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1, 3, 4
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2, 5
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 2, 5
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 6
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 2, 5
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1, 4, 5, 6
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 2, 5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The recommended text book is Paterson, Robertson and Duke, Principles of Contract Law, Thomson, 4th ed, 2012.

    If you have an earlier edition of this text, or one of the other books listed below, you may use that instead – but you should note that it may not deal with the important changes introduced by the Australian Consumer Law, which took effect in 2010–11.
    Recommended Resources
    Here are some other texts that students might wish to use for reference, in addition to the prescribed text:

    • Carter, Contract Law in Australia, Lexis Nexis, 6th ed, 2013
    • Willmott, Christensen, Butler and Dixon, Contract Law, OUP, 4th ed, 2013
    • Seddon, Bigfoot and Ellinghaus, Cheshire & Fifoot’s Law of Contract, Lexis Nexis, 10th Aust ed, 2012
    • Carter, Carter’s Guide to Australian Contract Law, Lexis Nexis, 2nd ed, 2010
    • Paterson, Robertson and Duke, Contract: Cases and Materials, Thomson, 12th ed, 2012
    • Carter, Cases and Materials on Contract Law in Australia, Lexis Nexis, 6th ed, 2012
    These are by no means the only contract law books available. In particular, there are a range of introductory or ‘basic principles’ books. With the exception of Carter’s Guide (above), which in any event is something more than an introductory work, none of these in particular are recommended. If students feel the need to acquire or use such a text, they should choose whichever one makes most sense to them or seems most suited to their needs.
    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used to post announcements, post additional lecture materials (including slides) and announce assignment tasks. It will also contain electronic copies of the Course Profile, Seminar Guide, and Course Materials.

    Students are expected to check MyUni regularly to keep up to date with these materials and additional learning resources throughout the course.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Classes in this course will be held 14th - 17th April, 9am - 4pm each day. There will be an hour’s break for lunch, and a shorter break each morning and afternoon.

    The classes will involve a mixture of lecturing and discussion of pre-read materials and problems. Each student will be expected to lead discussion on at least one occasion. The allocation of students to particular discussion topics will be arranged once classes begin.

    Please check your student email as course-related announcements are communicated via email.
    Andrew Stewart will be available for consultation during breaks, and immediately after classes finish. He will also be contactable by e-mail.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    This is a three-unit course and the university workload measurement for students on this course, including class contact time, is 156 hours. This includes any required pre-reading before the classes commence, and any research and writing of assignments after the end of formal classes.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Class 1 – Morning, 14 April
    Requirements to disclose information in pre-contractual negotiations

    Class 2 – Afternoon, 14 April
    The status of preliminary agreements

    Class 3 – Morning, 15 April
    Obligations of good faith and fair dealing

    Class 4 – Afternoon, 15 April
    Obligations of good faith and fair dealing (continued)

    Class 5 – Morning, 16 April
    The interpretation of contracts and the principle of ‘commercial construction’

    Class 6 – Afternoon, 16 April
    Illegality and public policy

    Class 7 – Morning, 17 April
    The control of unconscionable conduct in financial transactions

    Class 8 – Afternoon, 17 April
    Regulating standard form contracts the Australian Consumer Law and unfair contract terms
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Item % of final Mark Due Date Learning Objectives
    Take home exam 30 28 April 1, 2, 6
    Research Essay (5500 words) 70 26 May 1, 3, 4, 5, 6
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Criteria that will be used to assess students’ work will be distributed with the essay topics and take-home exam.
    Assessment Detail
    Take-home exam 30%
    A short exam paper requiring an answer of up to 2,500 words, released on 17 April 4:00pm

    Due Date: Monday 28 April 2:00pm

    Research essay 70%
    An essay of up to 5,500 words, on a topic chosen from a list distributed at the end of classes, or alternatively proposed by the student and approved by the course co-ordinator.

    Due Date: Monday 26 May 2:00 pm

    Both assignments must be submitted in order to pass the course. In addition, students must attend at least 6 out of 8 classes in order to pass the course. This requirement will only be waived in compelling circumstances.
    1. Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.

    2. All assignments must be submitted via Turnitin on MyUni. By submitting their assignment each student agrees and declares that:

    all material in the assignment is their own work, except where there is clear acknowledgement and reference to the work of others

    they have read the University's Policy on Academic Honesty, and

    they give permission for their work to be reproduced and submitted to other academic staff for the purposes of assessment and to be copied, submitted and retained in a form suitable for electronic checking of plagiarism.
    3. A penalty of 5% will apply for each day or part-day that an assignment is overdue. No extensions will be granted in relation to the take-home exam, given the nature of the assessment.

    4. A penalty of 5% will apply for every 10% (or part thereof) by which assignments exceed the maximum word length.

    5. Students must not submit work for an assignment that has previously been submitted for this course or any other course without prior approval from the course co-ordinator.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Courses for which a result of conceded pass has been obtained may not be presented towards the degree requirements for the Bachelor of Laws or the Honours Degree of Bachelor of Laws programs, or any postgraduate law program, nor to satisfy prerequisite requirements within any law course.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    Essays will be returned to students within 4 weeks of the due date with written feedback.

    Course results will be available within 4 weeks of the final examination/assignment. University staff are not permitted to provide results to students over the telephone or by email. When results are approved and finalised they are available through Access Adelaide:

    For a description of grades, refer to:
  • Student Support
    Additional Resources
    The Law Student Writing Centre is a service provided by the Law School and the University CLPD. Senior Law students provide assistance with: interpreting assignment questions structuring assignments citations and AGLC compliance
    The Writing Centre is open during the semester and bookings are recommended through the Law School Front Office.
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Plagiarism and other forms of cheating
    Plagiarism is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the assessment policies webpage, and should note in particular the sections relating to plagiarism, grievance procedures and academic conduct within the Law School and the University.

    Plagiarism is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Please be aware that “academic dishonesty” (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to refuse to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia.

    Academic honesty is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.