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Common Law Contracts

With the growth of international business, a lawyer must have a working knowledge of common law contract theory and contract drafting in order to practice law in the modern world. 

This course will explore the role of contract law within the common law legal system.  The first part of the course will address the theoretical and practical differences between common law and civil law approaches to contracts. We will then turn our attention to the general rules of common law contracts, namely the formation, validity, performance, and common law remedies in the case of non-performance. 

We will also look at such unique common law contract issues as consideration, the statute of frauds and the parol evidence rule.  Periodically, contract drafting skills will also be taught and practiced.  

The structure of the course will be lectures, supplemented with discussions of actual common law cases, as well as in-class activities/small group exercises that allow students to work with the theoretical concepts in concrete terms while at the same time improving their legal English skills.  This course can be taken as a “Schwerpunkt 5” course or as a foreign language course for the state exam, though it should be of general use/interest beyond those categories.  

The lectures for this course will be given in English, though particular effort will be made to make the material presented as accessible to non-native speakers as possible.  However, students should still have a reasonable understanding of both written and spoken English.

Dr. Keith E. Wilder, LL.M. (Edinburgh)