Aims of this Unit

From the beginning of this unit, we work on the premise that a manager or entrepreneur must have a good understanding of their organisation and in business in general. Not only do you need to know what goods and services need to be purchased/supplied, but you must also run the business side as well. This includes the broad areas of strategic planning, marketing, operations, finance and the law. A good manager not only knows the law but also knows how the law interacts with the other aspects of business.

This unit is about the law, focusing on business issues. In business, we deal with contracts every day. An understanding of how contracts are formed and how they operate is extremely beneficial to all people in business. This unit begins with an introduction to what law is about, then commences with the law of contract where we explore how a contract is created. Contract law underpins the foundation of commerce. Accordingly, we review the law of contract, where we consider key operational issues such as contents, parties, ending the contract and remedies. We examine other laws that can affect contracts. There are many, but in this unit, we focus on the main ones including the Australian Consumer Law, negligence, intellectual property, insurance and corporations law.

A broad understanding of how different laws are applied is examined through consideration of how to review a commercial contract. The purpose of this Unit is to provide the participants with a holistic view of business law and how it fits into modern Australian corporate life.

Knowledge and Understanding

This unit is designed to provide students with an understanding of:

Key Principles of Contract Law. The elements of the Australian Contract Law doctrine that represents the key areas of formulation, scope and content, avoidance, termination and remedies. This provides exposure to legal terms and principles.
Contract Lifecycle. The contract lifecycle and typical content, tools and processes they involve. Contracts generally follow four phases: pre contract, contract award, contract execution and close-out.
Process of Negotiations. The determination of the procurement method, supplier and scope, and the key principles of negotiating a contract ensuring the contract completeness. It covers the basis of the terms and conditions that form the ongoing legal obligations, and the offer and acceptance process.
Basis of Contract Formation. The key elements required of a contract to create a valid and enforceable contract between clearly defined parties. It is required to be recognised and enforced by law to be a valid legal instrument and needs to be clear on the legal obligations on each contract party.
Scope and Content Development. The clarifications of the legal relationship and the obligations for the services, supply and / or works required of the parties. This extends to establishing the performance metrics.
Avoidance of Legal Obligations. The vitiating factors and that can cripple or invalidate the contract and its obligations. This extends to how to avoid them.
Performance Management Factors. The requirements to measure, monitor and control performance and ensure the parties are meeting their legal obligations, including the required official communications.
Variation Management Process. The method to manage scope and any changes proposed or authorised for the contract obligations.
Discharge and Termination Options. The discharge and termination options for a contract. This may be through normal performance or brought to a close early.
Dispute Process and Legal Remedies. The process for dispute management, and the options and process to take legal actions to recover a loss or detriment to a party. It is important to confirm when a lawyer is required and the approach they will take from a legal perspective.
• International Contract Provisions. Understanding the basis of international law and the methods of doing business across borders and under international treaties.

Learning Outcomes

Following completion of this unit, participants should be able to:

1. Understand and be able to discuss the structure of a commercial contract and explain its key terms, and its role in leadership and management.
2. Describe the different lifecycle stages of a contract.
3. Identify and explain the essential elements of a valid and enforceable contract.
4. Analyse a range of contractual disputes and consider alternative dispute resolution systems.
5. Understand what to do if things go wrong, i.e. how to enforce a contract, how to terminate a contract and what damages or remedies, if any, may be available in the event of one or more parties defaulting.
6. Identify when courts will intervene when the requirements of a contract have not been satisfied. The equitable remedy of estoppel.
7. Demonstrate a high order of skill in analysis, critical reflection and evaluation and professional application.
8. Demonstrate creativity and flexibility in the application of knowledge and skills to new situations, to resolve problems and to think rigorously and independently.

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