Module Catalogue 2023/24

LAW1221 : Contract Law

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Tim Dodsworth
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Mixed Location
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module aims to provide you with knowledge and understanding of different aspects and general principles of English contract law. To this end, the module gives you an overview of the requirements for the formation of conract, consideration, terms, interpretation and enforceability of contract, vitiating factors, damages and other remedies. In particular, the module aims to:

1) develop knowledge and understanding of the general principles and traditional approaches of English contract law and compare them with alternatie models and techniques;

2) develop independent thinking and think practically in this field, and apply the legal rules and principles to specific situations;

3) develop the ability to identify and analyse problematic issues within the law of contract;

4) gain an analytical and critical approach to cotnract law and an awareness of social, policy and other issues that can impact on contractual relations, including fairness, inequality of bargaining power and public policy;

5) develop an understanding of the underlying values in contract law and how they interact with each other.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will examine in detail the English law of contract, drawing where relevant on materials from other jurisdictions. Attention will be paid to the characteristics of contract, the nature, purpose and approaches of contract law, the nature and requirements of contractual agreement, consideration and other requirements for enforceability of contracts, terms and interpretation of contracts, vitiating factors and remedies. Traditionall, contract law alongside tort law is the 'law of obligations' and therefore an important part of everyday life for individuals, businesses and even public agencies. Knowledge and understanding of contract law is imperitive in a variety of theoretical and practical dispute resolution and problem solving contexts. The emphasis of the module is therefore on applying the rules, principles and concepts of contract law to real-life cases with practical consequences and to contextualise the law in relevant legal practice, social, economic, political, historical, philosophical, ethical and cultural settings. The syllabus will be structured:

(i) Formation
- The history of contract and its place in the liberal tradition;
- The purpose of contract law in the modern society;
- Offer and acceptance;
- Consideration and the intent to create legal relations

(ii) The terms of a contract:
- Express terms
- Implied terms and contractual interpretation
- Exception Clauses
- Consumer contracts and consumer protection

(iii) Vitiating factors
- Misrepresentation
- Mistake
- Duress

(iv) Discharge and remedies
- Performance, breach and frustration
- SPecific performance
- Damages
- Resitution

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding

- the law on the topics covered on the module, using appropriate concepts, interpretive techniques and terminology;
- the historical context of English contract law as distinct from the continental tradition of obligations;
- the role of liberal political and economic thought on the development of principles of contract;
- the formation of contract, including the role and unique nature of consideration in English contract law and other common law systems;
- how contractual terms are interpreted, defined and incorporated into contracts;
- what terms may be considered unfair, and what additional protections are afforded to consumers
- what factors can impact upon the validity of a contract, and with what effect;
- what remedies may be made available in case of breach or non-performance of contract;
- the role of extra-legal normative frameworks that govern social and contractual relationships

Intended Skill Outcomes

Cognitive skills – having completed the module, students will be able to demonstrate these subject
specific skills:

- the ability to interpret statutes governing the contractual relations, as well as identifying the key aspects of central cases that have informed the trajectory of contract law
- the ability to place developments in contract in the greater socio-economic context in which contract law-making takes place;
- the ability to critique these developments, identifying where laws have adapted to socio-economic pressures, and where laws may need to be reformed;

Key transferable skills – having completed the module, students will be able to:

- engage in the interpretation of policy documents such as Law Commission reports, and to think of law not only in terms of doctrine, but in terms of real-world applications and effects;
- deal effectively with complicated real-world scenarios and identify the contractual provisions that may be relevant;
- demonstrate critical reasoning skills
- demonstrate skills in collecting, handling, evaluating and applying information
- demonstrate oral and written presentation skills, through active participation in seminars and preparation of written tasks
- demonstrate the ability to carry out independent research and identify relevant primary and secondary legal materials

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00In person lectures on substantive class content
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching41:004:001 hour in-person seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1107:00107:00Combination of own reading and revision of substantive module content
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time22:004:00One formative exercise
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time31:003:00Three one-hour long Q&A sessions
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching on this module is designed to provide three separate ways of stimulating critical thinking. The lectures have been designed to provide a law in context approach whereby each of the topic areas is viewed through a different contextual lens. Skill-based Seminars have been designed to provide practical training of application and analysis of the law. Finally, the reading has been balanced to provide a level of self-study and knowledge acquisition combined with some elements of analysis. This analysis is highlighted through seminar preparation questions which provide the necessary link between knowledge and application. The content of the seminars mimics the format of the formative and summative assessment.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination1351A100Inspera Digital Exam. Answer 2 out of 4 questions (one essay and one problem question)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written Examination1MTimed, formative examination including a problem scenario and essay.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Seminars have been designed to lead up to the formative and the exam. The style of the formative assessment mimics that of the summative exam. The formative exam will be testing the same skills, under timed conditions and will provide students with an opportunity to recieve timely feedback.

The final summative exam will cover both a problem and an essay question. This will test their ability to think critically and reflect upon both module content and the substance of seminars and fromative exam, so that they are able to then apply their legal knowledge to complex scenario situations, where they are (1) required to advise a party of any potential rights and liabilities that they may face on the basis of the information provided and (2) required to critically consider the foundations of legal/moral issues in light of doctrinal and/or philosophical thought. This allows for a full and comprehensive assessment of the student's abilities across the full range of outcomes and transferrable skills requirements identified above.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023/24 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.