LAW 7128 - Advanced Contract Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

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
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites Students without a Bachelor of Laws must have completed LAW 7177
    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
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1. Analyse, evaluate and apply the principles of contract law covered in the course, and undertake legal research using a range of primary and secondary materials, at an advanced level;
    2. Identify relevant legal issues and apply relevant legal principles to generate solutions to complex problems relating to contractual dealings;
    3. Develop well-structured, cohesive and persuasive written arguments for a legal audience;
    4. Exercise judgement in the identification and application of relevant legal principles to a contractual dispute in an academic environment;
    5. Embody professionalism and ethical behaviour in providing legal advice in an academic environment;
    6. Use reflection and feedback to inform development of the capacity to effectively analyse problems and apply relevant legal principles to generate meaningful solutions.
    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The recommended text book is Paterson, Robertson and Duke, Principles of Contract Law, Thomson, 5th ed, 2016.
    Recommended Resources
    Here are some other texts that students might wish to use for reference:

    • Carter, Contract Law in Australia, Lexis Nexis, 7th ed, 2018
    • Willmott, Christensen, Butler and Dixon, Contract Law, OUP, 5th ed, 2018
    • Seddon and Bigfoot, Cheshire & Fifoot’s Law of Contract, Lexis Nexis, 11th Aust ed, 2017
    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 in a single block from 15th - 18th April 2019, 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.

    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 – Requirements to disclose information in pre-contractual negotiations

    Class 2 – Comic contracts

    Class 3 – Obligations of good faith and fair dealing

    Class 4 – Renegotiating contracts

    Class 5 – The interpretation of contracts and the principle of ‘commercial construction’

    Class 6 – Autonomous smart contracts and the blockchain

    Class 7 – The control of unconscionable conduct in financial transactions

    Class 8 – Illegality and public policy
    Specific Course Requirements
    Small Group Discovery Experience
  • 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 Task Task Type (Group or Individual)
    Due Weighting Length Redeemable Course Learning Outcome
    Assignment Individual
    2500 words
    Yes 1-6
    Research Essay Individual 24/5/19 70% 5500 words
    Assessment Related Requirements
    The assignment is compulsory, because it covers essential material not otherwise assessed. Failure to submit an answer will result in course failure.
    Assessment Detail
    Assignment 30%
    This compulsory exercise will involve a law reform or policy question, requiring an answer of up to 2,500 words. The question will be released at 9:00am on Tuesday 23 April. The assignment will be redeemable by the research essay for a mark of at least 40%.

    Due Date: Monday 29 April 2:00pm

    Research essay 70% or 100%
    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: Friday 24 May 2:00 pm
    All assignments and essays in this course are to be submitted electronically through Turnitin. Students must retain a copy of their answers.

    All written work in the Law School is required to comply with the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

    Any requests for extensions must be made electronically according to Law School policy. Extensions will be granted only for unexpected illness, hardship or on compassionate grounds in accordance with University policy. Work commitments, travel, holidays or sporting engagements are not unexpected circumstances.

    Late Submission: Submission penalties of 5% of the total mark for each day (or part thereof) will be deducted for late submission (including weekends and public holidays). So an answer graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is up to one day late, for a final mark of 58%, 10% if it is two days late, etc.

    Word Length: Answers which exceed the allocated word length will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks available per 100 words or part thereof.  So with a word limit of 2,500, an assignment graded 72% will have 5% deducted if it is 2,501 words long, for a final grade of 67%, 10% if it is 2,601 words long, etc.  The word count for this purpose includes headings, quotations and all substantive text, including in footnotes, but not citations, bibliographical references or cover page information.

    The interim assignment for this course will be returned to students within 2 weeks of the submission date.
    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.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible  moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment  results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is  required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Acess Adelaide at the end of each semester.

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework
    Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the  appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).


    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course. Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in courses with multiple markers include:

    *assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered in each course;
    *detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of items of assessment;
    *sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    *reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    *comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    *automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    *the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

  • 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

    Lex Salus Program
    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program.

    Students can participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our Facebook page, website and regular all-student emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness.

    Our Lex Salus YouTube channel also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality. Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Student Life Counselling Support
    The University’s Student Life Counselling Support service provides free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Student Life Counselling Support service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life.
  • Policies & Guidelines

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

    Academic Honesty
    Academic dishonesty is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.

    Academic dishonesty is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic dishonesty (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia 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.