In an era of globalisation English contract law governs many international transactions between commercial parties and is essential to energy, shipping, commodities and the construction industry. This course will introduce students to the making, breaking, interpreting and disputing of contracts. It covers a range of subjects including contract interpretation, frustration, breach, termination, misrepresentation and fraud, and some of the special problems of insurance, shipping, and sale of goods law. It will also provide them with insights into the procedural aspects of commercial law; and into the different ways in which good faith may be approached in the common and civil law. In doing so, we consider typical problems concerning contract law, private and public international law, and procedure, which are encountered by commercial lawyers in negotiation, litigation, arbitration and mediation. Do you interpret contracts as a literalist goat or as a purposive sheep? When does a breach of contract destroy a contract? What are the modes and dangers of terminating a significant contract? What is the role of an “international commercial court”? What is the role of private and public international law in commercial law? How does “good faith” differ in the common and civil law? Would you advise a client to arbitrate or litigate or mediate? It will give students and practitioners the ability to answer these questions and apply contract law to complex commercial disputes. It will teach them to be lawyers in business and pragmatists in law.
2.15 hour examination