LAW 3531 - Contract Law: Selected Issues

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2015

This course will examine recent developments and emerging issues in the law of contract. Possible topics will 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.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 3531
    Course Contract Law: Selected Issues
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites LAW 1503 or LAW 1003
    Incompatible LAW 2117
    Course Description This course will examine recent developments and emerging issues in the law of contract. Possible topics will 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.
    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
    1. Students will develop the following skills:

    (a) have an advanced understanding of the principles of Australian contract law regarding the topics covered in the course;

    (b) be able to apply those principles to problem-solving exercises;

    (c) understand how Australian law differs from approaches taken in other countries in certain respects;

    (d) understand the social and practical context in which Australian contract law operates;

    (e) be able to critically evaluate the purposes and effects of Australian contract law.

    2. The continuing development of good inter-personal and communication skills is widely recognised as important for all graduates. This course specifically seeks to develop students’ abilities in both written and oral communication.

    3. The course is designed to contribute to the development of the following LLB graduate attributes in particular:

    (a) a knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of the primary areas of Australian law as required to satisfy the academic standards for admission to practice law in an Australian jurisdiction;

    (b) the capacity to analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources and experiences;

    (c) an awareness of the incompleteness of law and the continuous state of development o flegal principles; and

    (d) the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills.
    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
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 3
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 2
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Students will supplied, through MyUni, with study guides that provide an outline of the material and issues to be covered in both lectures and seminars.

    The prescribed textbook for the course is Paterson, Robertson and Duke, Principles of Contract Law (4th ed, Thomson, 2012).
    Recommended Resources

    Students may want to acquire a casebook with conveniently edited summaries of various court decisions that involve relevant issues of contract law, though this is not essential. The following two casebooks in particular are recommended — either would be suitable:

    • Paterson, Robertson and Duke, Contract: Cases and Materials (12th ed, Thomson, 2012)
    • Carter, Cases and Materials on Contract Law in Australia (6th ed, Lexis Nexis, 2012)

    Here are some other texts that students might wish to use for reference, in addition to the prescribed text:

    • Carter, Contract Law in Australia (6th ed, Lexis Nexis, 2013)
    • Willmott, Christensen, Butler and Dixon, Contract Law, (4th ed, OUP, 2013)
    • Seddon, Bigfoot and Ellinghaus, Cheshire & Fifoot’s Law of Contract, (10th Aust ed, Lexis Nexis, 2012)
    • Carter’s Guide to Australian Contract Law, (2nd ed, Lexis Nexis, 2010)
    Online Learning
    The MyUni course page for Contract Law: Selected Issues can be accessed at https://myuni.adelaide.edu.au.

    Besides this course profile and the study guides, students can use MyUni to access copies of the PowerPoints used in lectures, recordings of the lectures, any materials that students are specifically required to read for the seminars, and assessment tasks.

    There is also a Discussion Board for the course on MyUni. This has been set up as a way of enabling students enrolled in the course to communicate with one another. Students may use it to post questions that they are hoping some other student can answer. But if their question is really to one of the teachers in the course, they should e-mail that teacher directly.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Students in this course are expected to attend all lectures throughout the semester plus a one-hour seminar each week.

    The lectures will offer an overview of the topics covered in the course. Each lecture will include an opportunity for students to ask questions on the issues covered.

    The seminars involve small group discussion of selected cases or other readings, in some instances together with hypothetical problems. Seminars are a vital component of students’ learning in this course. The communication and problem-solving skills developed by regularly and actively participating in discussions are considered to be most important by the Law School and are highly regarded by employers and professional bodies.
    Workload

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

    As this is a 3-unit course, students are expected to devote an average of 12 hours per week to their studies in it, including classes. Students are expected to attend all lectures throughout the semester plus one two-hour seminar each week.

    Unless specifically asked to do so, students are not required to read materials ahead of lectures. For seminars, on the other hand, preparation is essential. Students must read the material to which they are referred, and come prepared to answer whatever questions are set.

    In general, the following study methods are suggested:

    • Although it is not required as a general rule, students may wish nonetheless to do some pre-reading for the lectures: for example by looking through the sections in the prescribed text that relate to the material that is upcoming.
    • Attend the lectures and take notes. If unable to attend, access the lecture recordings through MyUni.
    • Copies of PowerPoint presentations that are used in the lectures will be available on MyUni ahead of each lecture. These provide a basic outline of the points covered, though they should not be seen as a substitute for attendance. Some students may find it useful to print the slides out in advance of the relevant lectures and use them as a basis for taking notes.
    • The lectures are intended to provide an overview of the relevant principles and to put them in context. They are not meant to tell students everything they need to know, but to serve as a guide for their own study.
    • That study should involve, at the very least, reading through the material in the study guide and any other directed readings, and preparation of questions set for seminars.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Tba
    Specific Course Requirements
    There are no course-specific requirements, apart from those listed below under Assessment.
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    None
  • 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
    Task Type Due Date Weighting Relevant learning objective
    Take-home exam Formative and summative Wed 26 August, 2:00pm 30% redeemable 1(a), 2, 3
    Research essay Summative Mon 16 November, 2:00pm 70% or 100% 1, 2, 3
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Both elements of the assessment scheme are compulsory. Failure to complete either item of assessment will result in course failure.
    Assessment Detail
    Note: More detailed information and guidance will be distributed ahead of each assignment, including the criteria that will be used to assess students’ work.

    1.            Take-home exam (30% redeemable)
    This will involve a single problem-style question, raising issues covered in the first 3 weeks of the course. Answers must not exceed 1500 words in length.

    Exam question available: Monday 17 August, from 9:00am on course website

    Due Date: 2:00pm on Wednesday 26 August

    The take-home exam mark is redeemable, for those who get a mark of at least 50%. That means that if a student passes the take-home, but does better on the research essay, only their essay mark will count towards their overall result. Otherwise, the take-home counts for 30% of the overall mark.

    2.            Research Essay (70% or 100%)
    Students must submit a 5,000 word research essay, topics for which will be released on Friday 23 October.

    Due Date: 2:00pm on Monday 16 November
    Submission
    1. Assignments (take-home exam answers and research essays) must be submitted electronically through MyUni, and may be checked for plagiarism. Students must retain a copy of all answers submitted.
    2. Assignments must be written in prose style (using complete sentences), adhere to grammatical rules, and use correct spelling. All written work in the Law school is required to comply with The Australian Guide to Legal Citation, which is available at http://www.law.adelaide.edu.au/library/research/
    3. Students must adhere to the word limit for each assignment. Word limits include all words in the text, in headings, and in footnotes, but not in any separate bibliography appended to a research essay. 5% of the total mark possible will be deducted for every 10% (or part thereof) by which the assignment exceeds the word limit.
    4. Where an assignment is not submitted by the due date, 5% of the total mark possible will be deducted for every day (that is, a period of 24 hours commencing at the due time of submission) or part thereof that the assignment is late.
    5. Because of the nature of the take-home exam, no extensions can be granted, except where University policies specifically require otherwise. Anyone who cannot submit an answer by the due date has the option of applying for replacement assessment on medical and compassionate grounds (see Policies & Guidelines section). If such an application is successful, they will be given the chance to undertake a new take-home exam during the replacement exam period.
    6. Marked answers for the take-home exam will be returned to students within 2 weeks with written feedback.
    7. For the research essay, extensions may be granted in accordance with Law School policies, where there are compelling reasons for non-submission by the due 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.

    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 (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) 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.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • 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.