This course is a part of the program leading to:
Master of Science in Legal Studies
Master of Science in Compliance Law
Master of Science in Taxation
Contract Law is one of the most fundamental and essential elements of a legal education. Contracts are important because, at a very real and basic level, contracts are what allow modern society to function. Contracts are at the root of business law, family law, property law and so many others. Contracts are so ubiquitous in the world that we can sometimes take them for granted. Contracts are the means by which society makes promises enforceable. Without contracts, we would be reduced to a barter culture, with all transactions having to take place simultaneously and in real time.
In this course we will explore the nature and elements of contracts. We will discuss both what the law requires, and the rationale behind such requirements. Through the study of both text and cases, the student is expected to come away both with an understanding of how the law works and why it works that way. We will deal with both the theory of contracts, and in the practical use of contracts, as we review actual contract language, and how the use of slightly different terms can lead to significantly different results.
Topics to be covered include the formation of a contract as well as its termination, including offer and acceptance, consideration, informal contracts without consideration, detrimental reliance, promissory estoppel, capacity of parties, misconduct or mistake, conditions, performance and breach, damages, remedies for breach, third party beneficiaries, assignment and delegation, the statute of frauds, joint and several contracts, discharge of contracts and illegal bargains. Students are expected to develop an in-depth, sophisticated understanding of each area.
At the completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Identify issues of contract law inherent in the situation when presented with a complex situation involving relationships and disputes among two or more parties.
- Apply contract principles and doctrines to issues of contract law, utilizing the facts of the situation, to develop well-reasoned, legally and factually supportable arguments on either or both sides of the issue.
- Assess and analyze the respective strengths and weaknesses of each party’s arguments and overall legal positions.
- Demonstrate how and why the law has developed, changed, and is applied, including societal needs and influences that affect such development.
- Explain the contract issues of offer, acceptance and consideration.
- Explain the parol evidence rule and describe under what circumstances it might not apply.
- Determine whether someone has the capacity to form a contract.
- Apply the defenses to breach of contract to various fact patterns.
- Describe what actions constitute Anticipatory Breach and Prospective Non-Performance, and what options the other party has in response.
- Explain what damages apply in various situations.
- Apply the rules regarding third party beneficiaries, assignment and delegation.
- Determine whether and how the Statute of Frauds applies to various types of contracts.