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Contract law

Qualification dates
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This module employs a range of multimedia sources and engaging activities to immerse you in key issues and debates relevant to contract law. The focus will be on the key transactional stages of contracts, the rules that regulate contracts, and the problems that arise with them. This will include addressing themes of technology, inequality, international influences, and the fairness of contracts that are used every day. It is taught to you through one family’s experiences of contracts in daily life.

What you will study

The module begins by discussing the requirements for entering into a valid contract, clarifying how these are tested by the courts, for example, whether an individual has the capacity to sign a contract. You'll see how contracts are agreed, how obligations are enforced, and how disputes are resolved. The module will introduce you to different sources of law and explain the role of contract law and the courts in determining where and when contractual obligations arise.

You'll learn key contractual concepts such as offer and acceptance, terms (the contents of contracts) and remedies (how to resolve problems with contracts) through a module narrative with characters that use contracts in everyday situations. The module will introduce the law relating to a range of contracts and their contents, such as misrepresentation, mistake, duress, and unfair terms. The module will also help you to familiarise yourself with recognising contracts and methods of resolving contractual problems.

The final part of the module offers you the opportunity to choose from an exploration of contemporary contract law, examining digital technologies and contracts, or international contract law, exploring international influences on contract law. This will allow you to engage with critical concepts of contract law and help develop the skills and appreciation needed for onward study.

Throughout the module, you'll be encouraged to engage with themes of law reform, technology, unfairness, inequality and rights through a range of multi-media sources, interactive activities and module materials. You'll also be given opportunities to develop key skills such as reading case law, reading and understanding information from different sources, and communication skills.

Entry requirements

If you are new to study at university level, or are returning after some time, we recommend that you first study an OU level 1 law module such as Criminal law and the courts (W111) or Civil justice and tort law (W112), unless you are a graduate entry student.

If you are studying this module as part of the Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (LLB) (R81) or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) (graduate entry) (LLB) (R82), then you will need to have studied or be studying on a concurrent presentation of Public law (W211) before enrolling on W212.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

Preparatory work

You might find the following resources useful in preparation for this module:

What's included

You will be provided with the module textbook Poole’s Casebook on Contract Law 15th edition (Merkin and Saintier) and have access to a module website, which includes:

  • an eBook version of the module textbook
  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • audio and video content
  • assignment details and submission section
  • online tutorial access and tutor support.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They will help you by:

  • marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • providing individual guidance, whether that is for general study skills or specific module content.
  • facilitating online discussions between your fellow students in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying W212 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Contract law starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2024. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2029.

Course work includes:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
1 Interactive computer-marked assignment (iCMA)
No examination