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Contract law LA1040

This module introduces you to the principles of contract at common law and in equity and helps you to understand how these principles are applied to agreements.

This module covers core topics such as formation of contracts, capacity to contract and privity, performance and breach of contract and remedies for breach of contract.

Topics covered

  • The formation of contracts. Offer and acceptance. Consideration. Certainty of agreement. Intention to create legal relations.
  • The content of the contract. Conditions, warranties and intermediate terms. Exemption clauses. Implied terms at common law. Collateral contracts. Statutory implied terms with regard to the quality of goods sold and goods or services supplied.
  • Vitiating factors. Mistake. Misrepresentation. Duress and undue influence.
  • Illegality and public policy (excluding gaming and wagering). Contracts illegal at common law. Consequences of illegality. Contracts in restraint of trade.
  • Capacity to contract with particular reference to the capacity of minors.
  • Third parties (excluding agency and assignment).
  • Privity of contract, (excluding agency and assignment).
  • Performance and breach. Substantial performance. Repudiation and anticipatory breach. Discharge by breach. Discharge under the doctrine of frustration.
  • Remedies for breach of contract. General principles governing the assessment of damages. Remoteness of damage. Damages for non-financial loss. Mitigation. Restitutionary remedies. Liquidated damages and penalties. Specific performance.

Learning outcomes

If you complete the module successfully you should be able to:

  • Describe the essential elements of a contract and explain how a contract is formed, modified and terminated
  • Identify and explain appropriate remedies for breach of contractual obligations
  • Describe the general (economic, social and political) context in which contract law is applied and the current issues affecting contract law
  • Demonstrate understanding of the development of contract law and discuss its possible future direction(s)
  • Summarise standard legal materials and arguments
  • Analyse statutes and cases concerned with contract law
  • Identify issues raised by legal questions and problems and provide reasoned solutions
  • Carry out straightforward research tasks, using internet-based resources
  • Reflect on their own learning, responding appropriately to formative testing and feedback.


3hr 15 mins unseen examination

Essential reading

  • McKendrick, E. Contract law. (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021) 14th edition [ISBN 9781352012064].
  • Merkin, R. and S. Saintier Poole’s casebook on contract law. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021) 15th edition [ISBN 9780198869986].