Elements of the Law of Contract

The guide is intended to ‘wrap around’ the recommended textbooks and casebook. It provides an outline of the major issues presented in this subject. Each chapter presents the most important aspects of the topic and provides guidance as to essential and further reading. Each chapter also provides you with activities to test your understanding of the topic and self-assessment exercises designed to assist your progress. Feedback to many of these activities is available at the back of this guide. There are also sample examination questions, with appropriate feedback, which will assist you in your examination preparation.

In the study of contract law, it is essential to try to gain an understanding of the principles of law – what the law is trying to do in response to particular issues – rather than the rote memorisation of rules and cases. This means you may need to read passages or chapters in the guide (and the relevant suggested reading materials) several times in order to understand the principles of law being covered. In this guide we have taken account of all materials available up to February, 2009. Learning outcomes

By the end of this subject guide and the relevant reading, you should be able to: demonstrate a thorough working knowledge of contract law: the syllabus aims to give you a good working knowledge of the elements of contract law and the theory underlying it understand contract case law: you should develop the ability to understand contract cases, that is to say the importance of the issues in a case and how the court has resolved the issues apply the cases: you should be able to apply the case law to a given issue understand statutes: you should develop the ability to interpret a statute; you should also be able to understand the interrelationship between the statute and the relevant common law apply the statutes: you should be able to apply the statutes to a given issue. Each chapter lists specific learning outcomes to be achieved in relation to the material covered in that chapter. There is a ‘Reflect and review’ section at the end of each chapter to help you monitor your progress. Elements of the law of contract 1 Introduction and general principles page 7 1. 1 Studying the law of contract As already stated, this guide is not a textbook.

It must not be taken as a substitute for reading the texts, cases, statutes and journals. Its purpose is to take you through each topic in the syllabus for Elements of the law of contract in a way which will help you to understand contract law. It provides an outline of the major issues presented in this subject. It will also help you prepare to answer the kind of questions the examination paper is likely to contain. Note, however, that no topic will necessarily be included in any particular examination and that some are more likely to appear than others. The Examiners are bound only by the syllabus and not by anything said in – or omitted from – this guide. What do we mean by ‘taking you through’ a topic?

Very simply it is to spell out what problems or difficulties the law is seeking to provide a solution for and to give a structured guide to the materials (textbooks, cases and statutes). You must read these in order to appreciate how English law has dealt with the issues and to judge how satisfactory the solutions are in terms of overall policy. How to use this subject guide Each chapter begins with a general introduction to the topic covered and the learning outcomes you should achieve within that chapter. Following that, the topic is divided into subsections. Each subsection provides a reference to the recommended readings in McKendrick’s textbook and Poole’s casebook (see 1. 2 below). At a minimum, you should read these; in many cases you will probably find that you need to re-read them.

It is often difficult to grasp some legal principles and most students find that they need to re-apply themselves to some topics. In addition, at the end of each chapter, there are recommendations for useful further readings. This will always cover the relevant section in Anson’s Law of Contract. You may find it desirable to review this textbook from time to time because it is often easier to grasp a point that you have found difficult when it is explained in a different fashion. Recommended readings are also included in the Elements of the law of contract study pack. At the end of each subsection, the learning outcomes are again provided to enable you to test your progress.

Throughout each chapter, self-assessment questions and learning activities are provided. Feedback is also given with regard to the learning activities to allow you to check your comprehension of a particular matter. You will find this process most helpful if you answer the question before you check the feedback (rather than simply reading the question and then checking the feedback). This is because the object of your studies is to understand, rather than memorise, the law. At the end of each chapter, some advice is given with regard to possible examination questions on this topic. The fact that this constitutes advice about possible examination questions cannot be stressed enough.