Consumer Contract Law

The details
Essex Law School
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
23 April 2021


Requisites for this module
LW101 and LW108



Key module for


Module description

This 15 credit module, taught over one term, will build on the general contract law principles taught in Contract Law introducing students to some key legal and policy issues surrounding the regulation of contracts between parties acting in the course of a business and private consumers.

The module begins with discussion of applicability of the general rules of contract law to contracts between such parties; the bifurcation in regulation between such 'business to consumer' (B2C) contracts and 'business to business' (B2B) contracts in recent times; debates as to appropriate underpinning values and principles; and the Europeanisation of B2C contracts.

It then considers: the implied terms and remedies applicable to supply of defective goods, digital content and services (including issues of damages, rejection, repair, replacement, repeat performance, price reduction); and the questions raised by the current reforms to these and other rules (e.g. on information and cancellation rights and unfair commercial practices) by the new Consumer Rights Act and the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations.

The second part of the module examines the substantive rights and remedies for consumers against unfair commercial practices under the Consumer Protection Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014/870. The existing common law rules against unfair commercial practices are first considered before the legislative interventions focusing on administrative enforcement are highlighted. The provisions of Reg.3 of the Consumer Protection Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014/870 are examined.

Finally, consumer private law rights are compared with administrative enforcement against unfair commercial practices to demonstrate their complementary co-existence.

Module aims

The aims of the module are two-fold. The first part aims at explaining key terms on quality, fitness and description in supply of goods and digital contents contracts, remedies (in particular repair, replacement, price reduction and refund) for breach of these terms, terms on service quality and repeat performance and price reduction remedies for breach of these terms. It seeks to help students articulate these concepts, critically appraise them and consider their application to fact situations.

The second part of the module aims at demonstrating the role, potential and limitations of the consumer substantive rights and remedies in Reg.3 of the Consumer Protection Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014/870. It also aims at highlighting the limitations of the pre-existing contract law rules of misrepresentation, duress and undue influence and the role of administrative enforcement in tackling unfair commercial practices against consumers.

Module learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the module the students will be able to demonstrate the following:

1. An understanding of the 'place' of B2C (Business to Consumer) contracts in relation to general contract law, unfair commercial practices, consumer private law rights, commercial law, domestic law, supranational law and debates as to values and policy aims

2. An understanding of the key sources of the relevant rules

3. An understanding of the nature/meaning of the relevant rules

4. An ability to apply the relevant rules to hypothetical problem situations

5. An ability to provide clear, well-structured and critical evaluation of the relevant rules

Module information

1. Introduction: general contract law, bifurcation; values; Europeanisation
2. Implied terms as to description, quality and fitness in goods and digital contents contracts
3. Remedies for breach of the above (goods/digital contents) terms: rejection, termination, repair, replacement, price reduction
4. Implied terms as to time, price and quality in services contracts
5. Remedies for the above (services) terms
6. Introduction to consumer private law rights against unfair commercial practices
7. Pre-existing contract law rules against unfair commercial practices prior to the Consumer Protection Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014/870
8. Substantive Rights and Remedies in the Consumer Protection Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014/870
9. Limitations of the private law rights provisions in the Consumer Protection Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014/870

Learning and teaching methods

This module is taught through a mixture of weekly live webinars, pre-recorded videos, and tutorials. Each week, the module teaching team will first produce and make availableon Moodletwo 25-minute pre-recorded video lectures. The module teaching team will then deliver a weekly live 50-minute webinarin which they further explore key legal conceptsand answer your questions about the topics. These lecturesand webinarswill subsequently be available onlinethrough Moodleso that you can re-watch themas part of your independent study. Alongside this, there will be five bi-weekly 50-minute small group tutorials. The module teaching team will also produce and make available on Moodle short guidance notes. These notes will introduce the material to be covered in the lectures, webinars and required readings. The notes will also contain tips designed both to help you navigate the material to be covered in the lectures and webinars and to equip you to analyse the required readings. You will be expected to have completed the required readings in advance of your tutorials. Your tutorials will enable you to discuss the material covered in lectures, webinars and the required readings, obtain feedback on your pre-class preparation and deepen your understanding of key concepts.To help you prepare in the best possible way for your tutorials, you will be completing regular Multiple-Choice Quizzes on Moodle. The quizzes will be based on the reading set for that week so that the quiz forms part of your preparation for each tutorial. The quizzes will enable you to track your progress, understand what you are doing well, and give you clear feedback to help you manage your studies and your progress.


This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non-essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Summative Essay    80% 
Practical   Multiple Choice Quizzes    20% 

Additional coursework information

80% Summative Essay 20% Multiple-Choice Quizzes

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Christopher Willett, email: cwillett@essex.ac.uk.
Professor Chris Willett, Nikhil Gokani, Ugochi Amajuoyi
Law General Office, lawugadmin@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Karen Mc Cullagh
University of East Anglia
Lecturer in Law
Available via Moodle
Of 2403 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
2403 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Essex Law School

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