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Australian contract and consumer law

Please note that Australian Contract Law is currently being redesigned for responsiveness; the new site is available here and will fully transition later in 2019.

Contract law encompasses any laws or regulations directed toward enforcing certain promises.

We all make contracts almost every day. Whenever we buy a coffee, do the grocery shopping, fill the car up with petrol or purchase a ticket for public transport we are entering into a contract. We are often unaware we are contracting (or at least don't turn our minds to that fact) and in most cases it is unnecessary to do so; most contracts are made and performed instantly (or almost instantly) without any problems arising.

However, should something go wrong (eg, one party fails to perform (eg, deliver goods) or goods delivered or services performed are defective in some way), it may become important to assess when and whether a valid contract was entered into, the nature of its terms and obligations and what, if any, remedies may be available in the event of a breach.

In Australia contract law is primarily governed by the 'common law', but increasingly statutes are supplementing the common law of contract - most notably, but certainly not exclusively, in the area of consumer protection.

This site is designed to provide an introduction to Australian contract and consumer law. The core content can be found by following the links in the top menu.

The contract law section focusses primarily on the common law of contract, with some reference to relevant legislation. It 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.

The consumer law section includes information relating to consumer guarantees, unfair terms in consumer contracts, unconscionable conduct and manufacturers' liability.

Please note that the content on this website does not constitute legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice. See disclaimer for further detail.

Please also note that the site is currently undergoing a re-fresh and is being updated. This site remains (and will remain!) a work in progress and, while every endeavour is made to keep it up to date and accurate, no guarantee is made as to currency or accuracy.