Introduction to Contract and Tort - LAWS3150

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 4 15 (7.5) Olga Palevich checkmark-circle


Section 1 Introduction to Obligations
a) The nature of the common law and its development.
b) The idea of precedent and legal reasoning.
c) The distinction between public law and private law.
d) The main divisions of obligations.
e) Drafting case notes

Section 2 Introduction to the law of contract
a) The historical development of contract law and its functions in the modern world.
b) A special area of study in contract e.g. formation and modification of contracts.

Section 3 Introduction to tort
a) The historical development of tort. An overview of different types of tort. The centrality of the tort of negligence and its role in the modern world.
b) A special study in tort – e.g. trespass to the person.

Section 4 Conclusion
A summary; critical approaches to the study of contract and tort; guidance to legal problem solving.


Contact hours

Contact hours: 30
Private study hours: 120
Total study hours: 150


Compulsory to all single and joint honours undergraduate law programmes.

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
MCT – 1-hour (approx.): 20%
Problem question: 2200 words (max): 80% *

* Students must achieve a mark of 40% in the problem question to pass the module overall.

Reassessment methods
Like-for-like: where undertaken, students must achieve a mark of 40% in the problem question to pass the module on reassessment.

Indicative reading

Adams J. and Brownsword R. (2007) - Understanding Contract (5th ed.), London, Sweet and Maxwell
Conaghan J. and Mansell W. (1999) - The Wrongs of Tort (2nd ed.), London, Pluto Press
Harlow C. (2005) Understanding Tort law (3rd ed.), London, Sweet and Maxwell
Horsey K. and Rackley E., (2017) - Tort Law (5th ed.), Oxford, OUP.
Hutchinson A, (2006), Evolution of the common law. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
E. McKendrick E., (2011), Contract Law: Text, Cases and Materials (4th ed.), Oxford, OUP.
O'Sullivan J. and Hilliard J. (2016) – The Law of Contract (7th ed.), Oxford, OUP
Weir A. (2006) An Introduction to Tort Law (2nd ed.), Oxford, OUP
Wightman J. (1996) Contract - A Critical Commentary, London, Pluto Press

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of private law, its main subdivisions and its development.
2. Demonstrate a knowledge of the main types of legal obligation.
3. Demonstrate an outline knowledge of the principles of the law of contract and tort.
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the distinctive nature of case law and of the common law in particular.
5. Identify the contractual and tortious legal issues raised in simple problem situations.
6. Use case-law to predict the legal outcome of problem situations in at least one area of contract law and one area of tort.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Find a named case.
2. Read a case, distinguishing the components such as the head note, the facts and the judgments; to identify, where possible, the ratio decidendi, while recognising the difference between different judgments.
3. Make notes on cases, including judging their weight and providing critical comments for such notes.
4. Research a simple legal issue to find the relevant rules and principles, to identify relevant cases, to distinguish areas of comparative certainty from the leeways for argument and to provide a written legal opinion based on the above research.
5. Use cases, including using judicial quotation, in making an argument.
6. Use case law to provide advice on a problem situation of limited complexity.

They will also be able to demonstrate the following general abilities;

7. To use library and web resources, including journal articles, to research an issue.
8. To distinguish soundly based knowledge and evidenced claims from unfounded assertions.
9. To intelligently distinguish issues about which it is legitimate to argue and on which different views may be held.
10. To identify flaws and weaknesses in an argument.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.