Hypothetical cases as a pedagogical tool in contract law studies
Australasian Law Teachers Association
School of Business and Law
The pedagogy that underpins the method of teaching from cases is eponymously known as ‘the case-method’ (or ‘case-analysis’). First year law units, including contract law, are commonly taught by the case-method in Australia. The case-method potentially causes difficulties because of first year law students’ inability to harmonise the principles invoked in discrete topics of study as a coherent body of doctrine, and then to appraise their application to the facts of their legal problem. These difficulties are particularly conspicuous in contract law because topics in contract are taught in a customised sequence which invoke principles which first year law students find very difficult to assemble as a coherent whole. We suggest that bespoke hypothetical judgments, specifically drafted to attract the analysis of doctrine studied in different lessons where recurring difficulties have been encountered, be adopted as a supplement to case-analysis. This method can be readily integrated within the contract law curriculum.