Subject LAWS20003 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Two 2-hour seminars per week.
Total Time Commitment: 144 hours.

Legal Method and Reasoning; Torts or in each case their equivalents.

Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: None.
Non Allowed Subjects: None.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills, and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to providing support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/.


Melbourne Law School Student Centre
Email: law-studentcentre@unimelb.edu.au
Tel: +61 3 8344 4475
Subject Overview:

The subject involves a study of the foundations of the law of obligations, structured around the organising principles of consent, wrongs and unjust enrichment. Topics will include:

  • The nature of private law obligations and the relationship between obligations and property;
  • The nature and foundations of contractual obligations;
  • The formation of contracts (the requirements of agreement, consideration, intention to create legal relations, certainty and capacity);
  • Formalities and the creation of equitable interests in property;
  • Privity (by whom and against whom contractual obligations are ¬≠enforceable);
  • Statutory wrongs (focusing on misleading or deceptive conduct in trade or commerce);
  • Equitable wrongs (the nature of equity, the principles of estoppel and fiduciary obligations and the creation of equitable interests in property); and
  • Unjust enrichment (the nature of the law of restitution, money claims, claims in respect of services and defences).

The aim of this subject is for students to develop an understanding of the foundations of the law of obligations through close reading of cases, statutes and scholarly writing and through participation in class discussion. It is expected that on completion of the subject students should understand the structure of the law of obligations and the relationship between different private law obligations, and be able to:

  • Identify, analyse and challenge decisions recognising or denying private law obligations;
  • Apply relevant principles to particular fact situations and develop creative arguments as to ways in which those principles could be applied to novel fact situations;
  • Evaluate relevant legal and equitable principles and analyse particular problems from a range of theoretical perspectives; and
  • Utilise comparisons with other legal systems to analyse and evaluate the way in which particular problems are addressed by Australian private law.
  • Reflective essay. Word limit 1,500 words. Worth 30%. Due Week 12 of semester;
  • Final examination: open book. Two hours writing time plus 30 minutes reading time. Worth 70% of the final mark in the subject.
Prescribed Texts:
  • Paterson, Robertson, and Heffey, Contract: Cases and Materials (10th ed, 2005);
  • Printed materials will be available from the Melbourne Law School.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Attitudes towards knowledge that include valuing truth, openness to new ideas and ethics associated with knowledge creation and usage;
  • The capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of sources;
  • The capacity for critical and independent thought and reflection;
  • The capacity to solve problems, including through the collection and evaluation of information;
  • The capacity to communicate, both orally and in writing;
  • The capacity to plan and manage time;
  • The capacity to participate as a member of a team;
  • Intercultural sensitivity and understanding.

In addition, on completion of the subject, students should have developed the following skills specific to the discipline of law:

  • Case reading and analysis, including an ability to:

    - Extract important features from judgments;
    - Reconcile judgments;
    - Evaluate the development of legal principles;
    - Apply legal principles arising from case law to new situations.
  • Reading, interpreting and analysing statutes;
  • Hypothetical problem solving, including an ability to:

    - Identify legal issues arising in complex fact situations;
    - Identify and apply relevant legal, equitable and statutory principles; and
    - Provide advice as to the rights and obligations of the parties
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Computer Science and Bachelor of Laws

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