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Update on Contract

NZ $35.00
Paul David  
Paul David

This book is only available in PDF format
Published: 6 November 2013
Pages: 26


This seminar reviews developments in the law of contract since the last New Zealand Law Society seminar in May 2011. Recent decisions from the New Zealand courts are considered (with some reference to decisions in the higher courts of Australia and the United Kingdom).

While from time to time appellate Courts refine, clarify or reformulate, the established principles of contract law, fundamental change in those principles, is very rare. This makes sense because an established set of principles is important to provide a sound foundation for all commercial dealings. The principles, however, provide a framework but they cannot provide the answer for every problem (in the manner of a mathematical formula), and often the difficulty lies not in expressing established principles, but in applying them to particular circumstances. The result is that, for the most part, the decisions of the courts do not reveal fundamental changes in the law, but provide us with examples of the application of the principles of contract law to differing circumstances. The cases which are reviewed in this update tend to illustrate the difficulty of applying established principles in particular circumstances, and provide useful studies to guide our thinking when we are confronted with problems in practice.

This review follows the general structure of the previous seminar in 20111 and that of contract texts. The main areas covered are:

  • Formation – offer and acceptance (tender processes)
  • Conditional Contracts
  • The interpretation of contracts (including exclusion clauses and implied terms)
  • Cancellation under Contractual Remedies Act 1979
  • Discharge of contract by frustration
  • Remedies – damages, the basis for relief from penalties

Certain proposed legislative changes relevant to aspects of contract law – the Consumer Law Reform Bill and a Bill amending the Electronic Transactions Act 2002 (“ETA”) are also referred to. Neither proposed piece of legislation has yet become law. The Consumer Law Reform Bill has been through the Select Committee process and appears likely to become law later this year.


1 See, New Zealand Law Society Contract Law Update, May 2011 which covered developments in the law of contract from 2003.

Course outline

  • Formation of Contract
  • Contract Interpretation
  • Cancellation – Unaccepted Repudiations
  • Discharge by Frustration
  • Remedies – Assessment of Damages, Jurisdiction to Relieve Against
  • Penalties
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