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Study information

The Law of Contract

Module titleThe Law of Contract
Module codeLAW1004
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Victoria Hamlyn ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

In this module, you will examine the English law of contract. Attention will be paid to the characteristics of contract, the nature, purposes 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. Traditionally, contract law alongside tort law is the ‘law of obligations’ and therefore an important part of everyday life for individuals, businesses and public agencies. Knowledge and understanding of contract law is imperative in a variety of theoretical and practical dispute resolution and problem solving contexts. The module emphasises application of the rules, principles and concepts of contract law to problems, while considering the practical consequences, to contextualise the law.

Module aims - intentions of the module

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 enforceability of agreements: formation of contract, consideration, terms, interpretation, vitiating factors, damages and other remedies. In particular, the module aims to enable you to develop:

(a)   knowledge and understanding of the general principles and traditional approaches of English contract law and compare them with alternative models and techniques;

(b)   independent thinking and practical thinking in this field, and the ability to apply the legal rules and principles you have learned to specific situations;

(c)   the ability to identify and analyse problematic issues within the law of contract; and

(d)  an analytical and critical approach to contract law, and an awareness of social, policy and other issues that can impact on contractual relations.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the law on the topics covered on the module, using appropriate concepts, interpretative techniques and terminology;
  • 2. identify and analyse (with guidance) the general concepts and principles relating to contract law, together with related theories and academic commentary;
  • 3. research a legal question and demonstrate competence in applying contract law in order to formulate and evaluate a response to it;
  • 4. demonstrate competent understanding of some of the relevant legal practice, social, economic, political, historical, philosophical, ethical and cultural contexts within which contract law operates;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a range of legal rules, concepts, values and principles, and the ability to explain and discuss the relationships among them;
  • 6. make an informed judgement about the merits and relevance of information and make reasoned choices between alternative solutions or arguments;
  • 7. communicate technical legal information and arguments effectively and concisely, in a manner appropriate to the discipline.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. take responsibility for own learning (with support), and to work effectively with others within a group, meeting obligations to the other members of the group;
  • 9. identify, retrieve and use efficiently a range of resources with some guidance;
  • 10. manage time efficiently in preparing for learning activities and to work independently within a limited timeframe to complete a specified task.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Introduction to English contract law
  • Agreement and intention to create legal relations
  • Consideration 
  • Enforceability and terms of contract
  • Exception clauses  
  • Misrepresentation 
  • Frustration 
  • Duress, undue influence  
  • Remedies

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities4020 x 2 hour workshops
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities 2020 x 1 hour support sessions
Guided Independent Study 146Individual study, reading, and research
Guided Independent Study 94Assessment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination style question1,000 words 1-10Individual written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination (take-home, open book)802 hours intended duration (within a 24-hour submission window)1-10Individual written feedback
Online quiz201 hour1-10Whole cohort oral feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Examination (take-home, open book)Examination (take-home, open book; 2 hours intended duration (within a 24-hour submission window)) (90%)1-10August/September re-assessment period
Online quizOnline quiz (1 hour) (10%)1-10August/September re-assessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  1. Taylor and Taylor, Contract Law Directions (Oxford University Press) – latest edition
  2. Davies, JC Smith's The Law of Contract (Oxford University Press) – latest edition
  3. Saintier & Merkin, Poole’s Textbook on Contract Law (Oxford University Press) – latest edition
  4. Saintier & Merkin, Poole’s Casebook on Contract Law (Oxford University Press) – latest edition

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Agreement, Breach of Contract, Consideration, Contract, Contractual Intention, Exception/Exclusion Clauses, Frustration, Law, Misrepresentation, Remedies, Terms, Unconscionability, Vitiating Factors

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date