Contracts - Introduction with Focus on Common Law

Course Status: 
CEU code: 
LEGS 5054
CEU credits: 
ECTS credits: 
Academic year: 
Academic year: 
Academic year: 
Start and end dates: 
16 Aug 2011 - 8 Sep 2011
Co-hosting Unit(s) [if applicable]: 
Department of Legal Studies
Tibor Tajti
Learning Outcomes: 
• Understanding of the fundamental principles of U.S. contract law in comparison with counterparts in leading civilian legal systems in order to allow the students follow those more specific courses offered during the school-year, which presume a fair understanding of contracts in Anglo-Saxonic legal systems. • Ability to understand the function of peculiar common law institutions (e.g., equity, privity or estoppel). • Ability to identify the elements of contract law; i.e., formation and termination.
Assessment : 
The final grade will be made of the following elements: Final exam 70% Class participation 30% The final written examination will be made of two parts, a closed book part (40%) and an open book part (40%). The open book part of the exam will consist of one or more hypotheticals to evaluate the problem-solving skills of the students. The closed book part of the examination will cover the meaning, features and role of the core legal institutions and principles covered during the course (e.g., consideration, force majeure, the doctrine of frustration, remedies).

The course covers: A Glimpse Back in History (contracts of Genesis; contracts in Dark Ages – including provisions on contracts and some added highlights from Rothair’s Edict (643), Burgundian, Ripuarian and other medieval laws; Naya, Thooraha, recovery by moral compulsion, and other traits of Kandyan (Sinhala) contract law; basic contemporary contract related notions; the concept of contract under common law; protected promises and expectations (i.e., when and why are promises protected, including the doctrine of consideration); instances in which promises are not protected (e.g., misrepresentation; fraud); abundance of promises; breach and remedies (breach of contract exemplified; the choice of remedy for breach of contract; damages; liquidated damages, penalty clauses - a comparative account; the concept of and role of punitive damages in American law); frustration and changed circumstances, frustration of purpose, impossibility and related excuses, force majeure; force majeure and contract drafting.

Required reading: Professor Tibor Várady: Contracts – Introduction with Focus on Common Law (Budapest 2000) and Prof. Tajti’s supplementary course materials