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Contract Law


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 4
  • Convenors: Dr Victoria Ridler, Dr Guido Comparato
  • Assessment: an in-class group presentation (5%), 1500-word problem question (30%) and take-home examination (65%)

Module description

In this module we introduce you to the Law of Contract. First, the focus will be on the nature of legally enforceable (and legally created) obligations derived from a ‘contract’. There will be an emphasis on its development through case law considering the requirements of formation and its essential legal characteristics. We will then focus on the ways in which contracts can go wrong, and in particular the ways in which parties may escape what appear to be contractual obligations, whether due to failures in ‘formation’, impossibility of performance, or terms that are found unenforceable.
We then continue our analysis of contract law by focusing on different doctrines, such as duress and undue influence, which are meant to ensure that a certain level of fairness is achieved in contractual relations and/or that the genuine will of the contracting parties is respected. We will then consider the remedies available in case of breach of contract, looking specifically at damages and specific performance. This is followed by discussion of who can be party to a contract, before looking in detail at the requirement of ‘consideration’, examining its function and economic relevance. The module ends with a final lecture on the principles and values of contract law.
Throughout, there will be critical reflection on the way in which contract, and contractual intention, is conceptualised and constituted through the common law tradition.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • be familiar with key principles and concepts of contract law
  • be familiar with the common law tradition and in particular, relevant forms of legal reasoning
  • be able to comprehend and critically reflect on cases, statutes and academic work
  • have a coherent understanding of key aspects of contract
  • have an appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of law.