Course Title: Commercial law

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2012

Course Code: LAW5188

Course Title: Commercial law

School: 650T TAFE Business

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6106 - Advanced Diploma of Legal Practice

Course Contact : Doug Gourlay

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925-5944

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nominal Hours: 51

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Pre-requisites:  VU20111 Legal Process and VU20108 Law of Contract

Course Description

To provide the learner with the knowledge and skills in particular areas of commercial law, including partnerships, bankruptcy, business names, franchises and trusts, relevant to a person working in a legal office, private or public sector department, where a thorough knowledge of those areas is required.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20112 Commercial law

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:

Learning Outcome 1 - Describe the Common Law as to agency and the rights, duties and obligations of the parties.
Assessment criteria
1.1 Specify the purpose and existence of an agency. Identify and examine the relationship of the principal, agent and third parties.
1.2 Outline the process for the creation of the Agency and distinguish between agencies created.
1.3 Identify and assess the scope of an Agent’s Authority.
1.4 Distinguish between the types of Agents, and analyse with reference to a specific example.
1.5 Identify the duties, rights and liabilities of the agent. Analyse and evaluate with reference to specific examples.
1.6 Specify and analyse the duties, rights and liabilities of the principal.
1.7 Evaluate the ways and apply an example in which an agency agreement may be terminated.
1.8 Apply the Law of Agency to case examples.

Learning Outcome 2 - Analyse partnerships, their advantages and disadvantages, and examine the steps necessary to create them.
Assessment criteria
2.1 Classify and analyse the factors that constitute a partnership
2.2 Analyse the factors relevant to forming a partnership.
2.3 Assess the advantages and disadvantages inherent in an unlimited or general partnership.

Learning Outcome 3 - Analyse and determine the legal requirements of partnerships and discuss the relationships of partners to each other and to parties outside the partnership.
Assessment criteria
3.1 Analyse and determine the relations of partners to outsiders.
3.2 Analyse the relationship of partners to each other.
3.3 Classify the legal factors relevant to the dissolution or change in composition of a partnership.
3.4 Analyse and compare the main features of a limited partnership with a general partnership.

Learning Outcome 4 - Analyse the rights and obligations of creditors and debtors in the context of the alternative consequences which may follow a debtor’s failure to pay.
Assessment criteria
4.1 Classify and contrast the legal alternatives available to a creditor in relation to a debtor who fails to pay a debt.
4.2 Classify the administration of bankruptcy.
4.3 Analyse the legal issues and procedures involved with bankruptcy as a consequence of a creditor’s petition.
4.4 Specify the procedures and documentation related to a debtor’s petition.
4.5 Classify and analyse the types of arrangements available under Part X of the Bankruptcy Act and specify the circumstances in which such arrangements may be appropriate with reference to deeds of composition, deeds of assignment and deeds of arrangement.
4.6 Examine the nature and uses of a Part IX debt agreement.

Learning Outcome 5 - Analyse the consequences of bankruptcy upon the parties involved.
Assessment criteria
5.1 Identify the property that is available for distribution amongst creditors under the Bankruptcy Act, including an analysis of the doctrine of relation back, undervalued transactions, transactions to defeat creditors, and undue preferences
5.2 Analyse the effects of bankruptcy, on the bankrupt, secured and unsecured creditors and the debtor’s property.
5.3 Compare the rights of secured and unsecured creditors in relation to being paid.
5.4 Specify the circumstances in which a bankrupt can be discharged from bankruptcy and the implications for the bankrupt and the creditors.

Learning Outcome 6 - Analyse the major features of trusts, the process of their creation, maintenance and dissolution, and the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved.
Assessment criteria
6.1 Identify the major features of trusts.
6.2 Compare the various reasons for using trusts.
6.3 Explore the methods of creating various forms of trusts, and their nature.
6.4 Analyse the legal factors governing the role of trustees.
6.5 Analyse the rights of the beneficiaries of a trust with reference to the circumstances in which they may direct the trustee and their rights when the trustee has breached a duty as a trustee.
6.6 Assess the process of the winding up of trusts with reference to distribution of assets to beneficiaries as authorised by the trust instrument, release or variation from the trust obligations and disposition of the trust property.

Learning Outcome 7 - Analyse the legal requirements of the use and registration of business, company and association names, and the rights of their owners.
Assessment criteria
7.1 Evaluate the legal requirements related to the registration and use of business, company and association names.
7.2 List the legal protection available to the user of a name in relation to the tort of passing off, Trade Practices Act 1974, tort of deceit, corporations law and Associations Incorporation Act.
7.3 Analyse the legal authority as representative of partners, those acting on behalf of associations, the trustees and company directors and officers.

Learning Outcome 8 - Analyse the legal nature of franchises, their regulation, and the rights and liabilities of the parties.
Assessment criteria
8.1 Classify and analyse the factors which constitute franchises.
8.2 Classify and analyse the legal nature of a franchise.
8.3 Assess the impact of the Franchising Code of Conduct upon franchises.
8.4 Analyse the impact of the Trade Practices Act 1974 on franchises.
8.5 Analyse the rights and liabilities of the parties in franchises.

Details of Learning Activities

Students will study the principles of Company and Associations Law in class sessions, practical sessions and through prescribed exercises and assessment work. These concepts will also be explored through the investigation of the application in the real world and simulated environments. There will be a range of learning activities including self paced to be undertaken in your own time as well as collaborative classroom based learning activities. The collaborative based activities will include group discussion, group problem solving activities and opportunities to practise your skills in a simulated work place environment.

We expect you to participate and contribute in all scheduled learning activities.

The nominal hours associated with this course are a guide only and represent total teaching time and student effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment tasks including any classroom activities.

Teaching Schedule

Week 1
6th February
Week 2
13th February
Week 3
20th February
Partnerships/Agency Law
 Group based Task - Assignment 1 - on partnership law - learning outcomes 2 & 3 to be distributed - 20%.
Week 4
27th February
Agency law 
Week 5
5th March
 Enforcement procedures  
Week 6
12th March
Week 7
19th March

Week 8

26th March

Week 9
2nd April

Mid Semester break
5th April - 11th April
Week 10
16th April
Class test (Open book) -.
Test 1 covering Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 - (Open Book) - 40%
Group based assessment task to be submitted
 Week 11 23rd April
Week 12
30th April
Week 13
7th May
Week 14
14th May
Franchising/Names of business organizations
and legal protection in relation
to use of name. Dealing with representatives of Business Organizations
Week 15
21st May

Class Test (Open Book) -
Test 2 covering Learning Outcomes 6 - 8 inclusive.(Open Book) -40%
Week 16
28th May
Feedback/ Deferred Assessments  

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

"Business Law" by A Gibson, D Fraser, 6th Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall


 Turner, C, "Australian Commercial Law", Lawbook company
Lattimer, P, "Australian Business Law", CCH
Rose, D.L, "Lewis’ Bankruptcy Law", Lawbook Company   Gibson & Fraser "Business Law" 5th Edition Pearsons

Other Resources

Overview of Assessment

Assessment mat be by various methods as outlined for each learning outcome, including tests, assignments, projects, presentations, case studies, test and final exams.

Students are advised that they are likely to be asked to personally demonstrate their assessment work to their teacher to ensure that the relevant curriculum standards are being met.  Students will be provided with feedback throughout the course to check their progress.

Assessment Tasks


Open Book Test 40% - (Conducted in week 10 - during normal scheduled class time).

The test will comprise a number of multiple choice questions, short answer questions and problem based case studies. For this test, you will be required to have a thorough understanding of Partnership Law, Agency Law, Civil Enforcement procedures and bankruptcy -  learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5. The problem based case studies will test your understanding of all of these learning outcomes and your skill in applying your knowledge to real workplace scenarios. 


Group Based task 20% - (Due in Week 10)

The group based task requires teams of students, usually 3 members per group to research analyze and apply the principles of law relating to partnership law -  learning outcomes 2 & 3. The issues to be researched and responded to, will be derived from real case scenarios that require each individual member of the group to participate and work collaboratively with other group members. Each student will be required to provide feedback on each peer member’s contributions and participation to the group based task.


Open Book Test 40% - (Conducted in week 15 - during normal scheduled class time).

The test will comprise a number of multiple choice questions, short answer questions and problem based case studies. For this test, you will be required to have a thorough understanding of the law relating to trusts, Franchising Law and protection for and dealings with representatives of business organizations - learning outcomes 6, 7 & 8. The problem based case studies will test your understanding of all of these learning outcomes and your skill in applying your knowledge to real workplace scenarios.

To pass this course, students must complete all assessments and achieve an accumulated mark of at least 50%

Assessment Matrix

Learning outcomesAssessment Marks allocated
1 2 3 4 and 5 (inclusive)
Task 1 - Open Book test40%
2 and 3
Task  2 - Group based task 20%
6, 7 & 8 (inclusive)Task 3 - Open Book test


Submission Requirements

Task 2, the Group based Assessment task needs to be submitted via Blackboard.

You should:

• Ensure that you submit assessments on or before the due date. If your performance in the assessment is affected by unexpected circumstances, you should consider applying for Special Consideration. Information on the process and application forms is available at;ID=ls0ydfokry9rz website.
• Always retain a copy of your assessment tasks. (hard copy and soft copy)
• When you submit work for assessment at RMIT University you need to use a cover sheet that includes a declaration and statement of authorship. You must complete, sign and submit a cover sheet with all work you submit for assessment, whether individual or group work. On the cover sheet you declare that the work you are presenting for assessment is your own work. An assignment cover sheet for submission of work for assessment is available from the Student forms website.
• Each page of your assessment should include footer with your name, student number, the title of the assessment, unit code and title and page numbers. 


Final Grades -

- 80% - 100% - High Distinction - HD

- 70% - 79% - Distinction - DI

- 60% - 69% - Credit - CR

- 50% - 59% - Pass - PA

- 0% - 49% - Fail - NN

Plagiarism is defined (RMIT University 2003a) as stealing somebody’s intellectual property, (IP), by presenting their work, thoughts or ideas as though they were your own. It is cheating. it is a serious academic offence and can lead to expulsion from RMIT. Plagiarized material material can be drawn from, and presented in, written, graphic and visual form, including electronic data and oral presentations. Plagiarism occurs when the origin of the material used is not appropriately cited. Advice and activities are available to help you cite and quote your sources correctly, and avoid plagiarism from the RMIT website - "Study skills".

Course Overview: Access Course Overview