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Unit information: European Contract Law in 2015/16

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Unit name European Contract Law
Unit code LAWDM0097
Credit points 30
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Giliker
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The course is designed for those who have an interest in contract law and similarities and differences in the law of contract of Member States of the European Union, particularly in the light of the growth of the single market and inter-state trade. It will examine the evolving national contract laws of the constituent Member States, focusing on particular issues such as unfair terms and the influence of CISG (United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods) together with the potential impact of proposals for some form of harmonised supra-national contract law for the European Union as a whole. The aim of the course is to equip the student with the ability to assess substantive issues of contract law within the member states of EU member states, to gauge the impact of the existing European Union legislation upon the national law of these member states, and to consider the possibilities and efficacy of a common contract code for Europe.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, a successful student will be able to explain and critically analyse:

a) the existing rules of European Contract law

b) proposals to introduce new legislation in the field of European Contract law

c)proposals to harmonise European contract law; and

d) the role played by comparative law in improving one’s understanding of European contract law.

The student will be able to understand the arguments relating to legal transplants and be able to identify the key academic, professional and political influences in the future development of European contract law. The unit is thus theoretical and practical. The student will be able to understand the nature of the existing rules of European Contract law, but gain a critical appreciation of proposals to extend European contract law beyond specific contract law instruments and assess the merits and disadvantages of harmonising European contract law.

Teaching details

10 seminars.

Assessment Details

Summative -assessment: a 3000 word essay (33%) will assess the candidate's ability to research a topic within the scope of this unit. The remaining Intended Learning Outcomes will be assessed in a 3 hour written exam (67%).

Formative - students should do one formative assessment.

Reading and References

The reading list will refer students to articles, EU documentation and legislation in this field, but reference will be frequently made to:

Reimann and Zimmermann (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law (OUP, 2006) and Beale et al, Cases, Materials and Text on Contract Law: Ius commune textbook (Hart, 2010) 2nd ed