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The subject considers key legal concepts employed in commercial law and the practical role they play in solving commercial disputes. Our focus is on key structures and relationships used in commercial transactions, and the question of how such structures and relationships may affect third parties. As commercial parties often need to decide what legal structure to adopt in a relationship, we consider and compare the differing legal consequences of different types of commercial transactions, looking at their effect on both contracting parties and third parties. In doing so, we look at how key conceptual building blocks of commercial law (such as agency; trusts; sale; assignment; and security) are applied in practice. Given the international nature of much commercial law, and the important ongoing influence of shared common law concepts, we consider both Australian and English materials.
The syllabus remains flexible to ensure that our focus is on recent developments and topics of current interest. In 2020, the core topics studied will be: (i) agency: its internal and external aspects; (ii) trusts and their use in commercial transactions; (iii) sale and the effect of passing property; (iv) assignment of contractual rights and the practical effects of non-assignment clauses; (v) the operation of good faith in commercial relationships. Broader themes to be discussed include: (i) the effects of different transactions on third parties, including the limits placed by the law on the parties’ freedom to determine such effects; (ii) the interaction of common law, equity and statute in commercial contexts.
Students taking this subject will be assumed to have a basic knowledge of the principles of contract law, property law, equity and trusts, as applied in Australia or other legal jurisdictions.
- Agency: internal and external aspects
- The use of trusts in commercial relationships
- Sale and the effect of passing property
- The transfer and protection of intangible commercial rights, including assignment of choses in action
- The role of good faith in commercial transactions
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the role played by legal concepts in structuring commercial transactions
- Be able to examine, analyse and assess the effectiveness of legal rules applicable to commercial transactions
- Be an engaged participant in debate regarding the operation and effectiveness of those legal rules and be able to make an informed contribution to debate about the reform of commercial law
- Have a sophisticated appreciation of the considerations driving the development of the law in this field
- Have the communication skills to articulate and convey complex information regarding the relevant legal principles and the authorities on which the principles are based to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to be able to solve complex legal problems occurring in commercial practice.
Last updated: 2 December 2019