LW4003 - Contract Law

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will develop an understanding of the law relating to the formation, operation and termination of contracts. You will, through the study of contract, be introduced to the finding, reading and use of a primary source of law, the law report. As the law of Contract is mainly a case law based subject you will be expected to read law reports and extract rules from this source of law. Such law will then be used to analyse problem and essay questions.

This module covers the following topics:

• An overview of the law of contract, its place in the common law and the operation of the doctrine of judicial precedent, and the factors affecting the development of modern contract law.
• Formation of Contract: agreement, certainty, intention to create legal relations and consideration, including promissory estoppel.
• Contents of contract: express and implied terms; interpretation of contracts; exemption clauses and unfair terms.
• Vitiating factors: misrepresentation, mistake, duress and undue influence.
• The doctrine of privity of contract and the exceptions to the doctrine.
• Discharge of contract: performance, breach, agreement and frustration.
• An outline of the law of remedies for breach of contract.
• A brief outline of the law of restitution.

How will I learn on this module?

The module is delivered via a combination of lectures, seminars, tutor guided independent learning and independent learning. The module will be taught in large group sessions in which you will be taught the major principles of contract law and in small group sessions which will develop your analytical abilities.

Use of Large Group Sessions:

The large group lectures, which will be delivered to the entire year 1 cohort, are intended to introduce you to the major principles of the key topics of contract law. They will also enable you to develop fact analysis and problem solving skills, for example by applying the principles to which the lectures relate in the context of factual scenarios. You will also be expected to undertake independent learning (for example, reading major cases from the area of contract law) in consolidation of the lecture programme and the related programme of directed learning.

Use of Small Group Sessions:

The small group seminar discussions will be taught in 1 hour or 2 hour seminars. Sessions will cover a range of activities. In preparing for seminars you will be required to undertake independent and directed learning, perform fact analysis and identify relevant principles of contract law. Seminars will also require you to demonstrate your ability to locate and make effective use of legal source materials. You will be expected to engage in independent and, at times, directed learning in consolidation of work done in preparation for and during seminars.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The University supports you in learning and research with an excellent library and teaching facilities, access to on-line legal databases and resources and appropriate software.

This module is designed and will be managed by a designated Module Tutor who will be responsible for guiding you in your engagement and learning on the module. Material will be delivered to you by lecture and through the eLP. The eLP site will contain the following resources: lecture notes; Powerpoint slides; the module handbook, which will contain seminar exercises; advice on assessment, supported by sample questions and answers; and Panopto recordings of lectures. As well as contact with the lecturer you will also be taught by a seminar tutor. Should you have queries you may approach the lecturer or your seminar tutor or e-mail your query to either member of staff. It is also possible to make an appointment to speak to a contract tutor face to face. You may communicate with your Module Tutor by e-mail or telephone and are encouraged to make contact if you encounter any difficulties relating to any aspect of the module.

Academic support is also available to you through formative and summative feedback on assessments. You will have the opportunity to submit written work and to work through sample questions prior to the end of module assessment.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

• By the end of the module you should be able to explain what is required to form a contract, understand the legal and commercial impact of various terms of a contract, recognise when a contract is invalidly formed, explain how a contract may be brought to an end, outline the remedies available upon a contract being broken and explain and appreciate the principles of restitution.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

• Understand how you are to read and use case law.

• You will develop an ability to construct commercially appropriate legal advice and/or legal argument from the application of case law and legislation to a body of factual material, and be able to explain contractual principles and their application clearly and succinctly in a written form.

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment
There will be two opportunities to submit written answers to seminar questions for review and feedback.

Additionally, answers to multiple choice questions will be reviewed in a seminar and in a lecture, the latter employing TurningPoint.

You will receive feedback on all of the formative assessment, as detailed above. This will show you how you are progressing and enable you to assess your progress.

Summative assessment

The examination will in Part A test your ability to read and understand a case. In preparation for the examination you will have to undertake independent research in order to understand and analyse the case specified.
Part B requires an understanding of the principles of the law of contract and an ability to use and/or apply those principles to problem or essay questions. Answers will have to be clear, coherent and seek to develop arguments using legal authority.

Summative feedback will be available in written form on scripts, via the elp as notes for guidance and orally from module tutors.

Assessment Criteria and Grade-Related Criteria will be made available to you to support you in completing assessments. Grade-Related Descriptors are descriptions of the level of skills, knowledge and/or attributes that you need to demonstrate in order achieve a certain grade or mark in an assessment, providing a mechanism by which the quality of an assessment can be measured and placed within the overall set of marks.





Module abstract

One of the most important law subjects you will study is the law of contract. Contracts are encountered in all walks of life, and on a daily basis, ranging from buying a sandwich or a bus ticket, to going to the cinema or finding employment; the law of contract underpins all such transactions. It forms the basis for an understanding of employment law, sale of goods, landlord and tenant and many other areas of law. On the module you will be taught general principles of contract law including, what is needed to form a contract, how to recognise the terms of the contract and understand the effect of such terms and how to bring a contract to an end. The consequences of bringing a contract to an end are also explored, particularly the remedy of damages. In studying contract you will also be introduced to finding, reading and using primary sources of law, particularly case law.

Course info

UCAS Code M101

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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