• Class Number 7130
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Anne McNaughton
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

Commercial Law is designed to give students an understanding of the key areas of commercial law and how they relate to each other. The focus is on the areas of personal property and aspects of commercial contracts, as these form the basis of all commercial law. The course will consider the concepts of bailment and agency and the complex provisions dealing with the sale of goods. It is suitable for those students who want an overview of commercial law as well as those who want to bring themselves up to date with recent developments in this field. This course is an elective that builds on material in the compulsory course Contracts and articulates with Corporations Law, Property and other commercially focused electives such as Restrictive Trade Practices and Consumer Protection and Product Liability, for example.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Synthesise and apply the rules and principles of commercial law covered in this course;
  2. Critically analyse areas of commercial law in order to provide solutions to complex commercial law problems;
  3. Transform the analysis of case law into a proposition of commercial law and communicate this to others ;
  4. Critically analyse a given set of facts to identify and address the relevant legal issues in the areas of commercial law dealt within the course;
  5. Formulate an argument based on prior case law, distinguishing the facts in decided cases where applicable, to structure and answer to a problem question in a logical and coherent manner;
  6. Work collaboratively and communicate professionally with colleagues using a range of written and oral formats.

Research-Led Teaching

The central tenets of commercial law are well-settled and continue to be anchored in the areas of contract and property law, enhanced and modified by statute. Research in the substantive area of commercial law informs the selection of topics and the degree of detail in which they are considered. The content and structure of this course are informed by research in the fields of education, educational psychology and commercial law. The research in education and educational psychology has informed the restructuring of the course, spiralling the course curriculum by building on students’ previous compulsory studies (Contract Law); introducing new topics in the early weeks of the course and reinforcing and building on that material in subsequent weeks. 

Required Resources

The prescribed text for this course is Pearson, Gail et al, Commercial Law: Commentary and Materials (Thomson Reuters, 4th ed, 2019).

You will also need a copy of the Sale of Goods Act 1923 (NSW), which you can download from www.austlii.edu.au. The State and Territory sale of goods legislation is substantively uniform throughout Australia and the equivalent provisions in the ACT Act will also be referred to as appropriate. You may also like to download this Act from the AustLII website.

You will also need a copy of the Sale of Goods (Vienna Convention) Act 1986 (NSW).

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Other Information

Task submission times refer to Canberra time (AEST/AEDT).

Extensions, late submission and penalties: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties

Deferred examination: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/deferred-examinations

Word length and excess word penalties: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties

Further information about the course: is available from the course Wattle page. Students are required to access the Wattle site regularly throughout the course for any announcements relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to Commercial Law Due to the dialogic nature of this course, seminars will NOT be recorded. This course will be taught entirely in-person. It is NOT possible to complete this course online. Students are expected to attend all classes in-person.
2 The Law of Agency
3 Nature of Personal Property (Personalty)
4 The Law of Bailment
5 Security Interests: Using personal property to secure payment
6 Contracts of Sale: Formation and Statutory Regimes
7 Transfer of Property and Title under a Contract of Sale
8 Express and Implied Terms of the Contract of Sale
9 Statutory Obligations in the Supply of Goods and Services
10 Misrepresentation and misleading conduct in Commercial Law
11 Unconscionability in Commercial Law
12 Performance and Remedies

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Commercial Contract Construction Task 10 % 21/08/2023 11/09/2023 1,3,4,5,6
Research Task 50 % 12/10/2023 * 1,3,4,5,6
Active Participant and Reflections 40 % * * 1,2,3,4,5,7

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines , which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


For all courses taught in any mode (whether face to face or online), the ANU College of Law considers participation in the classes offered to be an important part of the educational experience of the program. Students are expected to attend all classes.


There is no final examination for this course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 21/08/2023
Return of Assessment: 11/09/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4,5,6

Commercial Contract Construction Task

Details of Task: The assessment involves a scenario consisting of relevant contractual provisions and questions testing the ability of the students to apply the proper approach to their interpretation.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit this assessment will result in a mark of zero for this assessment task.

Weighting: 10%

Word Limit: 500 words. The ANU College of Law's Word Length and Excess Word penalties policy can be found here.

Submission Requirements: Footnotes should be used for the referencing of all sources. All references should be compliant with the current edition of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation. Your submission must be made in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). PDF files will not be accepted.

Due Date: 5pm, 21 August 2023. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, but late penalties will apply. 

Estimated Return Date: 11 September 2023

Assessment Criteria: You will be assessed on your ability to:

  • define, distinguish and apply the basic concepts and terminology of the law of contract;
  • construct a proposition of contract law established by case law;
  • apply the proper approach to contract construction and the interpretation of contractual provisions;
  • distinguish the facts in decided cases from those in a given set of facts;
  • recognise and appraise the interaction between contract formation and construction;
  • formulate written arguments in response to the given set of facts;
  • use legal citation conventions appropriately in the course of legal writing; and
  • write accurately and accessibly with correct use of grammar, punctuation and appropriate expression.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 12/10/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4,5,6

Research Task

Details of Task: Students will be required to undertake independent research on a provided question for the purpose of completing this piece of assessment. Further guidance for this task will be provided on Wattle.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit this assessment will result in a mark of zero for this assessment task.

Weighting: 50%

Word Limit: 2500 words. The ANU College of Law's Word Length and Excess Word penalties policy can be found here.

Submission Requirements: Your submission must be made with a 12-point font, 1.5 line spacing and page numbers on each page. Footnotes should be used for the referencing of all sources. All references should be compliant with the current edition of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation. Your submission must be made in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). PDF files will not be accepted.

Due Date: 5pm, 12 October 2023. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, but late penalties will apply. 

Estimated Return Date: 3 November 2023

Assessment Criteria:

  • Understanding of the Issues;
  • Communication & Development of Argument;
  • Argument/Analysis;
  • Research; and
  • Presentation, style and referencing.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,7

Active Participant and Reflections

Details of the Task: This task involves two components: 

  • Active Participant: You will need to perform this role in each seminar you attend (at minimum 75% of the course). It is your responsibility to ask questions, volunteer ideas, and add your voice to the conversation during the seminar discussion. Your purpose is twofold: a) to support your peers by engaging in the conversation they are trying to lead, and b) to develop your own thinking and the thinking of your peers by articulating ideas and exploring uncertainties.  
  • Reflective posts: You will also be required to reflect on the class discussion paying particular attention to the assessment criteria below. 6 posts are required across the semester: 3 must be made in Weeks 2-6 and another 3 in Weeks 7-12. Each post must be submitted in Wattle by the end of the week to which it relates, that is, a post made in Week 11 relating to Week 4 will not be accepted. Further guidance for this task will be provided on Wattle.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit this assessment will result in a mark of zero for this assessment task.

Weighting: 40%

Release: 25 July 2023

Word Limit: 400 words per post. The ANU College of Law's Word Length and Excess Word penalties policy can be found here.

Due Date: This assessment task will be completed over the duration of the semester. Due to the nature of the task, late submission or extension is not permitted.

Estimated Return Date: Official end-of-semester results release date.

Assessment Criteria for the active participant component: You will be assessed on your ability to:

  • support your discussant peers by engaging in the conversation they are trying to lead;
  • contribute constructively to the discussion by asking questions, volunteering ideas;
  • demonstrate an understanding of how to develop and support a group-wide discussion by contributing as well as encouraging others in the group to contribute to the


Assessment Criteria for the reflective pieces: You will be assessed on your ability to:

  • reflect on the class discussion and the substantive topic/s of law being considered by contributing your own ideas and insights, beyond simply summarising the class discussion. Specifically, include a response to these two questions:
  • What was the most important point made in class today?
  • What unanswered question do you still have?

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item.
  • Late submission is not accepted for tests or examinations.
  • Late submission with an extension. To ensure equity for all students, the 5% penalty per working day for late submission of work does not apply if you have been granted an extension. Where an extension is granted, the revised due date and submission time will be provided in writing. Importantly, any revised due date is inclusive of weekends and public holidays. Regardless of which day of the week the revised due date falls on, students who submit after that date will be penalised by 5% of the possible marks available for the task per 24-hour period.  

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Anne McNaughton

Research Interests

Anne's particular research focus is at the intersection of international and comparative law. It includes the European Union as a legal system, comparative aspects of the EU and the Indo-Pacific region, legal transplants and the concept of mutual recognition with a focus on services and the professions; and the Europeanisation of private law, particularly in the areas of contract, property and commercial law.

Anne McNaughton

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions