LLB Law with International Study

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Principles of Commercial Law

Course unit fact file
Unit code LAWS30052
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


Principles of Commercial Law is a practical and highly relevant subject for all students that covers a sound foundation of different aspects of commercial law with one focus on the sale and supply of goods and services. The aim of the course is to examine the basic nature and key aspects of the contracts under which goods are supplied, with particular emphasis on the everyday contract of sale which all of us will encounter on a daily basis. The first part of the course focusses on general principles of commercial law as well as the law of agency (internal and external parts of agency), the second part is based around an analysis of parts of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) and the case law on it. It addresses contractual issues (such as the circumstances in which buyers of defective goods can reject them & get their money back) and property issues (the transfer of ownership to the buyer or other person to whom goods are supplied and the effects of a sale or other disposition of goods by someone who does not own them). It looks at domestic and international commercial contracts as well as consumer contracts and draws comparisons between the applicable regimes.

  • Introduction: General principles and the history of commercial law and the law of sale of goods; the distinction between commercial and consumer transactions; sources of law; international aspects of commercial law and European attempts to harmonise rules
  • Fundamentals of commercial contracts; interpretation and implication of terms; equity and good faith; exemption clauses and unfair terms
  • Personal property law and bailment
  • Agency; internal relationship and external factors
  • The different types of contracts under which goods are supplied and the distinctions between them; the Consumer Rights Act; other key concepts.
  • The duties of the seller/supplier and the remedies for breach in non-consumer domestic sales
  • The passing of property rights to the buyer or other person to whom goods are supplied and the passing of risk (an analysis of the consequences when the goods being sold or supplied are damaged, stolen or destroyed).
  • The effects of a sale or other supply of goods by a person who is not their owner: the principle nemo dat quod non habet and its exceptions



Level 1 LAW 


  • To provide students with knowledge and appreciation of general principles of, and key issues relating to Commercial Law.
  • To facilitate an appreciation of the contractual and proprietary aspects of such contracts.
  • To enable students to appreciate the context and requirements of commercial and mercantile contracts.
  • To provide students with an awareness of current policy trends and developments in Commercial Law.
  • To enable the students to compare the policy underlying the different rules governing domestic and international sales contracts and consumer contracts
  • To encourage the development of students' skills in legal reasoning and analysis through study of statutes, case law and law reform proposals in the context of Commercial Law

Learning outcomes


Teaching and learning methods

30 hours of lectures, five hours of (fortnightly) seminars and 10 hours of (weekly) direction and feedback drop in sessions.

The delivery of lectures will be on campus, additionally online resources will be used.

The seminars will involve team work, including presentations, as well as whole class discussions. There will be resources available on Blackboard, to ensure that students understand key sections of the course. Most reading will be available online through the library resources.

Intellectual skills

  • An ability to present reasoned arguments supported by evidence.
  • A capacity to interpret and assess competing viewpoints and to use those viewpoints to formulate arguments about law regulation insofar as they are relevant to Commercial Law.
  • A capacity to identify and analyse critically key legal and regulatory issues in relation to Commercial Law.

Practical skills

  • An ability to engage in and cultivate reasoned legal arguments, by way of both oral and written presentation.
  • An ability to produce (by a specified deadline) a concise and appropriately structured essay addressing a key issue in relation to the regulation of sale and supply of goods.
  • An ability to undertake independent online and library-based research.
  • An ability to carry out literature reviews, formulate theses and summarize legal and supplier/consumer perspectives.
  • An ability to produce structured discursive essays with accurate citations to sources and properly compiled bibliographies.
  • An ability to develop an argument persuasively irrespective of whether it coincides with one's beliefs.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • An ability to think logically, to assess competing principles impartially and to identify and solve legal problems insofar as they impact upon parties involved in Commercial Law.
  • An ability to discuss such problems orally and to articulate relevant conclusions.- An ability to think independently and to use one's initiative in developing legal ideas and research into issues concerning the sale and supply of goods.
  • An ability to manage one's study-time and meet deadlines.
  • An ability to utilize search engines, navigate the Internet and make appropriate use of relevant websites.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 67%
Written assignment (inc essay) 33%

Feedback methods

Students will receive oral feedback on presentations, both from the seminar taker and fellow students. In addition, students will have the opportunity to write a mock exam not counting towards their final grade and they will receive written feedback on this as well as on the assessed coursework.

Outlines of Issues will be provided after the examination.

Recommended reading

To prepare for the course, students should review their contract law notes on express and implied terms, misrepresentation and remedies for breach of contract.

The main textbook is Sealy and Hooley’s Commercial Law - Text, Cases and Materials (6th edn, 2020)

A further recommended textbook is E McKendrick (ed) Goode on Commercial Law (6th ed Penguin, London 2021).

Information about statute books and other materials will be given in lectures and on Blackboard.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Seminars 5
Tutorials 10

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Annette Nordhausen Scholes Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Annotated statute books permitted in examination.


Restricted to: BA (Law with Politics); LLB (Law with Politics); LLB (Law); LLB (Law with Criminology) and suitably qualified Law visiting students.

Pre-requisites: Compulsory year 1 Law School courses Timetable

See Law School timetable

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