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Profileringsvak: English Contract Law


Admission requirements

Bachelor degree in law and sufficient English knowledge.

Note: This course is mandatory for attending the course Privatissimum: English Contract Law.


This course will study in detail certain aspects of the English law of contract, including formation, breach and remedies.

The principal method of work is the analysis of cases (court decisions) in order to ascertain the law, and then the application of the law to hypothetical fact situations (practical Problem questions). The fundamental rules of English contract law are not contained in any statutory text, but in the common law—the law which has been devised and developed by the courts over the centuries. Statutes have intervened to change particular common law rules relating to contract law. But the fundamental rules are found in the cases, including cases which date back to the 19th century or even earlier.

The background to the particular cases which we shall study in detail is found in textbooks. The book which you will find particularly useful is:

J. Cartwright, Contract Law: An Introduction to the English Law of Contract for the Civil Lawyer (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2007).

Course objectives

Objectives of the course
The purpose will be not only to discover the essential nature of a contract in the eyes of English law, but also to use the law of contract as the topic from which to learn how a common lawyer reasons in order to find and apply the law. There will be an opportunity to make comparisons with the civil lawyer’s approach to legal reasoning, as well as to see some differences between English law and the law of other common law jurisdictions (such as the United States and Australia).

Achievement levels
At the end of this course, students should have a good understanding of the nature and content of English Contract Law and the differences between the common lawyer’s and the civil lawyer’s approach to legal reasoning.



Mode of instruction



  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 5

  • Required preparation by students: For each week’s work you are required to read the relevant sections of J. Cartwright, Contract Law (see underneath) together with two cases.
    At the seminar with Prof. Cartwright you will be expected to participate in discussion of the cases which you will already have read.

Other methods of instruction

  • Description: Tutorials

  • Number of (2 hour) instructions: 5

  • Required preparation by students: At the tutorials you will discuss further issues arising from the topic which you covered during the seminar and explore how to apply the law to the problem question which you have already prepared. There will also be the opportunity to discuss matters in preparation for the next topic.

Assessment method

Examination form(s)
3-hour written examination (closed book: no notes or course documents).

Submission procedures

Areas to be tested within the exam


More information on this course is offered in “Blackboard”:

Reading list

Obligatory course materials
English Contract Law

Recommended course materials
J. Cartwright, Contract Law: An Introduction to the English Law of Contract for the Civil Lawyer (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2007).

Registration None.

Contact information

  • Co-ordinator: Dr. Erik-Jan Zippro

  • Work address: KOG, Steenschuur 25

  • Contact information: Room C 2.09

  • Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 7400/01

  • E-mail: “’


  • Institute: Civil Law

  • Department:

  • Room number secretary: KOG, B 2.41

  • Opening hours: 9 – 17h

  • Telephone number secretariat

  • E-mail: