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Interpretation of Contracts - JURD7395
 Blooming Flowers

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 3
Enrolment Requirements:
Prerequisite: LAWS1071 & LAWS1072. Co-requisite: LAWS2311. Prerequisite:JURD7171 & JURD7172. Co-requisite: JURD7211.
Excluded: LAWS3395
Fee Band: 3 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


This elective course examines systematically and in depth (to a degree not feasible in the compulsory core UNSW contract law courses) the major legal principles and associated practical and evidentiary issues in finding express and implied contractual terms, and in interpreting their meaning and effect in various contexts (including those raising issues of mistake and/or contractual frustration). Students receive extensive practice in analysing construction disputes within the adversary system.

Recommended Prior Knowledge

JURD7171 Contracts 1 and JURD7172 Contracts 2

Course Objectives

The course seeks to assist students:
  • to develop a clear and coherent view of a branch of law which is widely misunderstood despite its' immense practical importance;
  • to appreciate the dimensions of many practical and evidentiary problems which arise in disputes about contractual interpretation in the Australian adversary legal system; and
  • to gain extensive practice in legal analysis of construction disputes.

Main Topics

  • Express oral and written terms
  • Signed and unsigned documents
  • Limitations of signature
  • Conflicts between oral and written promises
  • The parole evidence rule
  • Misleading pre-contractual statements
  • Entire Agreement Clauses
  • Estoppels
  • Implied terms
  • Exclusion clauses
  • Canons of interpretation
  • Rectification
  • Evidence admissible in construction
  • Mistake
  • Contractual frustration


Class participation (20% optional)

Mid-session essay (40% optional)

Final exam (40% or 60%, 80% or 100% depending on whether the abovementioned options are taken)

Course Texts


J. Paterson, A. Robertson, P. Heffey Contract Cases and Materials, 10th ed (2005), Law Book Co.

Supplementary materials issued by UNSW Law School


Refer to Course Outline provided by lecturer.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.