Foundations of the Law of Obligations

The details
Law (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
07 May 2019


Requisites for this module


LW101, LW201, LW241, LW242, LW363

Key module for

LLB M122 English and French Law (Maitrise),
LLB M100 Law,
LLB M100MD Law,
LLB M100MS Law,
LLB M101 Law (Including Foundation Year),
LLB M101JS Law (Including Foundation Year),
LLB M107 Law (Including Placement Year),
LLB M120 Law (Including Year Abroad),
LLB M120AF Law (Including Year Abroad),
LLB MN00 Law with Business,
LLB MN01 Law with Business (Including Year Abroad),
LLB MN02 Law with Business (Including Placement Year),
LLB MN10 Law with Finance,
LLB MN11 Law with Finance (Including Year Abroad),
LLB MN12 Law with Finance (Including Placement Year)

Module description

This 15 credit module will act as an introduction to the study of contract and tort and set them in the wider framework of the common law of obligations. The main aim will be to introduce students to key concepts in the separate disciplines of contract and tort. However the module will also highlight the interplay between contract, tort and restitution in order to demonstrate the significance in practice of these distinct branches of the law of obligations.

Module aims

To understand the key principles of the law of obligations, specifically the basics of contract formation and tort law claims in negligence.

Module learning outcomes

To be able to identify when a contract has been validly formed, to identify when a claim for negligence might be brought, and to be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of both areas of law and how they regulate obligations.

Module information

The first five weeks of teaching will provide an overview of fundamental aspects of contract law and explain the relationship of contract law to other branches of the law of obligations. This part of the foundation module will serve as the introduction to a ten week contract module which will be taught in the following spring term. The second five weeks of teaching will provide an overview of the law of negligence and serve as an introduction to the ten week module Tort Law.

1. The common law of obligation, the role of contract, tort and restitution
2. Establishing Agreement: offer and acceptance, consideration, intention to create legal relations, certainty and privity
3. The Duty of Care: Donoghue through to Caparo and beyond
- The Foreseeability of Harm
- Proximity
- Fairness, Justice and Reasonableness
4. Breach of Duty
- The Standard of Care: The Man on the Clapham Omnibus/Skilled, Professional, Juvenile or Infirm Defendants
- Factors Influencing a Finding of Breach
5. Causation and Remoteness
- Successive/Overtaken Torts and Joint Liability
- Cumulative Torts
- Causal Indeterminacy
- Novus Actus
- The Egg-Shell Skull Rule
- The Remoteness Rule
6. Limitations and Defences
- Contributory Negligence
- Volenti Non Fit Injuria

Two hour lectures per week
Four fortnightly seminars

Learning and teaching methods

Learning & Teaching Methods: Upon successful completion of the module, students will be able to: - Understand the limits and scope of each of the three branches of the law of obligations - Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of contract formation - Demonstrate an understanding of the elements of negligence liability and recognise the wider sociological and political context of the problems of blame culture - Apply this knowledge to resolve legal problems in simulated cases and to critically evaluate the current state of the law


  • Horsey, Kirsty; Rackley, Erika. (2019) Tort Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • McKendrick, Ewan. (©2019) Contract law, London: Red Globe Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework Summative Assignment Foundations of the 100%
Overall assessment
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Jaime Lyndsey
Law General Office, 01206 872529, lawugadmin@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Ms Annette Marie Morris
Cardiff University
Reader in Law
Available via Moodle
Of 152 hours, 40 (26.3%) hours available to students:
112 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Law (School of)

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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