Updated July 2016


General principles of contract law

Consumer law

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Australian Contract and Consumer Law

Contract law encompasses any laws or regulations directed toward enforcing certain promises. In Australia contract law is primarily regulated by the 'common law', but increasingly statutes are supplementing the common law of contract - particularly in relation to consumer protection.

This site is designed to provide an introduction to Australian contract and consumer law. The core content can be found in the links to the left or 'The Law' link above. This section describes the Australian law relating to contract and consumer law. Contract law is broadly divided into five categories:

  • contractual formation
  • scope and content of contracts
  • avoidance of contractual obligations
  • performance and termination of contracts and
  • remedies for breach of contract.

In relation to consumer law current topics include the law relating to consumer guarantees, unfair terms in consumer contracts, unconscionable conduct and manufacturers' liability.

The other key part of the site involves summaries and notes of leading contract and consumer law cases. This remains a work in progress and more cases will be added progressively.

Contract law publications

Contract Law 2016 Contract Law 2012 Contract Law OUP Contract Law Companion

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Late payment fees
The High Court has delivered judgment in Paciocco v Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited [2016] HCA 28 (27 July 2016). The case involved consideration of (amongst other things) late payment fees; in particular, whether they breach statutory prohibitions relating to unconscionable conduct and/or unfair terms and whether or not they constitute a 'penalty'.

The High Court dismissed both appeals, finding that the fees were not penalties and nor did they contravene statutory provisions

See also
High Court case resources page


Julie Clarke

This site was created by Dr Julie Clarke and is designed to provide resources relating to Australian contract and consumer law. The site remains a work in progress and will be updated and expanded whenever time permits.