Contract Law for Managers

Aims of this Unit

How are managers and businesses affected by contracts? It is the aim of this course that as managers, the participants will be able to answer this question and be better managers as a result. Participants will be introduced to the concepts of contracts, how to negotiate a contract, what is needed to be included in a contract to better serve your or your employer’s needs, how to manage a contract and what you can do if things go wrong. With this knowledge it is expected that participants will become more effective managers.

In business we deal with contracts every day. Every business deal done usually involves negotiating and performing the terms and conditions of a contract. An understanding of how contracts are formed and how they operate is extremely beneficial to all people in business. Whether you are a derivatives trader, a project manager, a board member of a publicly listed company or are running your own manufacturing business or even negotiating your own employment contract you deal in contracts daily. You may find yourself in a position of needing to use a lawyer one day in a contract dispute and a good understanding of contract law will be of assistance in this instance.

This understanding of contracts is an essential part of the life of anyone in business and this course aims to provide you with the knowledge and tools to be able to confidently move in this area of contracts and contract law.

Knowledge and Understanding

This unit is designed to provide students with an understanding of:
• Lifecycle. The contract lifecycle and the inherent risks at the different lifecycle stages. Contracts in principal can be considered in three phases: pre contract, contract and then post contract. Each phase is important in its own right but they are all linked.
• Negotiation. How to negotiate a contract, what needs to be in a contract and how to improve the quality of the contract during this phase. This is the pre contract period which is critical in minimising the likelihood of confusion or dispute and may be the turning point of success of failure of a project, sale or trade.
• Formation. How to create a valid and enforceable contract. Without an enforceable contract your transaction or deal is in jeopardy.
• Content. The operations of a contract, how it is implemented, how to terminate it and what remedies are available when a party does the wrong thing pursuant to the contract.
• Content and Changes. Drafting techniques to ensure a valid and enforceable contract is entered into.
• Undoing the contract. Vitiating factors and how to avoid them.
• Consequences of a breach of contract. How to terminate it and what remedies are available when a party does the wrong thing pursuant to the contract. Unravelling the differences between void and voidable, repudiate and terminate, common law damages and equitable remedies.
• No Contract. When will courts enforce an arrangement when there is no contract? The Doctrine of Estoppel.
• Consideration of contracts from an international perspective and the future of contracting.

Learning Outcomes

Following completion of this course, 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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