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The University of Southampton

LAWS2031 Foundations of Contract Law [AJ]

Module Overview

Foundations of Contract Law is important in a number of different ways. Firstly, it is a building-block module on which other subjects will depend in later years of the degree. Contract law also exemplifies principles of law and techniques of analysis which go to the heart of any legal system. The existence and application of the law of contract have far-reaching effects on social relations and economic practice, whether the perspective is that of a large commercial company or of a consumer. The law of contract affects our daily lives and conditions the way in which business is conducted. This module aims to provide you with a thorough understanding of the principles of the law of contract, and with a rigorous training in the analysis and practical application of those principles. At the same time the module aims to develop critical understanding of the underlying issues such as the need for policy considerations, the endeavours to balance different groups of contract parties, the limits of the rule of precedents and the question of judicial activism.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the main principles which govern: • entry into a contract. • the terms of a contract.
  • the principal policies and values underpinning contract rules.
  • existing areas of debate about what the law is and what it ought to be.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • thoroughly analyse relevant legal materials, including case law.
  • apply contractual principles, with appropriate legal authorities, in the solutions of practical problems.
  • critically appraise thoroughly and offer solutions in existing areas of debate in contract law.
  • identify and explain how certain facts, in an actual or hypothetical situation, may be ambiguous or uncertain, and to demonstrate how, if they are clarified or made more specific, they could lead to a different legal analysis.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • develop and present a written argument with appropriate evidence.
  • critically and with perceptiveness evaluate others' arguments.
  • identify and analyse a range of key policy issues.
  • apply information gained, through instruction and self-study, to inform, support or criticise a proposition.


This module will introduce you to a number of the main concepts of contract law. The main areas covered will be: 1) The process by which a binding contract is formed and amended. 2) The rules governing express and implied terms. 3) The interpretation of contract terms.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching will be by a combination of weekly lectures (2 hours) and weekly tutorials (1 hour) in small groups. You will be expected to attend all lectures and tutorials and will be expected to have prepared for, and participate fully in, tutorials. The lectures will provide a structured outline of the key doctrines and principles of contract law and an introductory critique of topics and concepts. The tutorials work alongside the lectures and focus on discussion of selected topics and concepts as well as practicing answering problem and essay questions. They also provide an opportunity for you to ask questions and obtain feedback on their progress. The tutorials are interactive and you are expected to come prepared for the tutorial and engage actively in discussions.

Wider reading or practice20
Preparation for scheduled sessions40
Follow-up work20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Resources. You are expected to purchase one textbook which will be indicated at the beginning of each year. Access to primary source material in the form of cases, statutes and secondary materials are all available either in the Library of via electronic legal databases.





MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assessment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase reading texts as appropriate.


Recommended texts for this module are available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the core/ recommended texts as appropriate. The required textbook is expected to cost around 25-30 GBP. You are responsible for meeting the cost of the textbook and of producing such assignments as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for the module, e.g. you might wish to print out law journal articles, law cases, and lecture slides.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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