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LAW1221 : Contract Law

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Tim Dodsworth
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Mixed Location

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


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

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.

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

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

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.

Reading Lists