Course Title: Commercial law

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2015

Course Code: LAW5188

Course Title: Commercial law

School: 650T Vocational Business Education

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

Andrew Webster
Building 80, level 5

Contact hours Mondays 10.00 - 12.00 - to week 6

Joanne Mackay
Building 80, level 5
email; - from week 6-16

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 Commercial 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 July 6
Overview of course, investigation of laws of bankruptcy including overview of debt recovery alternatives  

Week 2
July 13


Week 3
July 20


Week 4
July 27

Bankruptcy, Partnerships including review of business structures, Assessment task 1, individual written assignment worth 30% of final mark covering learning outcomes 4 and 5 to be distributed. Due to be submitted in week 8

Week 5
Aug 3


Week 6
Aug 10



Week 7
Aug 17

Partnerships, Protection of Commercial Interests by Registration

Assessment task 2 (30%) group/individual  research assignment to be distributed, covering Learning Outcomes 2, 3, 6 & 7. Assessment includes group work involving written report and oral presentation, individual work to include short answer and case study questions. Selection of groups to be arranged.

Written report to be submitted in week 13, oral presentations to be conducted in weeks 13 and 14.

Week 8
Aug 24


Trusts - includes mid semester break 31 August - 4 September

Assessment task 1 (30%) due to be submitted.

Week 9
Sept 7





Week 10 Sept 14


Trusts, Franchises


 Week 11 Sept 21



Week 12
Sept 28

Franchises, Agency law  

Week 13
Oct 5

Trust presentations - part 1 Assessment task 2 , Trusts - group assignment (30%) written report to be submitted - oral presentations to be conducted.

Week 14
Oct 12

Trust presentations - part 2,


 Assessment task 2 - Trusts - oral presentations to be conducted

Week 15
Oct 19

Class Test (Open Book) - 2 hours

Assessment task  3 - Test  - covering Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 6 and 8 inclusive.(Open Book) -40%.

Note that test may be held in Week 16

Week 16
Oct 26

Feedback/ Deferred Assessments  

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Fundamentals of Business Law by M. L. Barron (McGraw Hill Education, 7th Edition, 2012).


Turner, C, "Australian Commercial Law", Lawbook company
Lattimer, P, "Australian Business Law", CCH
Rose, D.L, "Lewis’ Bankruptcy Law", Lawbook Company   

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

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

To pass this course, you need to demonstrate you are competent to the industry standard as required of a paralegal. To achieve this, you must complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard.

In order to demonstrate you have met the learning outcomes for this course, evidence of the following is essential:

• Knowledge of Commercial Law relating to partnerships, bankruptcy, trust, franchises and business names
• Analysing how partnership is created and determining its legal requirements and explaining the relationships between the parties concerned
• Examining bankruptcy in the context of the rights and obligations of creditors and debtors, and its consequences
• Analysing trust in relation to its features, its creation, maintenance and dissolution processes, and the rights and obligations of parties involved
• Examining the legal requirements of the business name and the owner’s rights
• Analysing the legal nature, regulation and the rights and liabilities of the parties concerned in a franchise

Assessment Task 1 - Written assignment
This task wil require students to research, analyse and apply the principles of law relating to bankruptcy. Learning outcomes 4 & 5. The issues to be researched and responded to, will be derived from real life case scenarios.

Due Date: Due in week 8
Indicative weight: 30%
Submission Procedure: Submit online through Turnitin on blackboard

Assessment Task 2 - Group Based with an Individual Task
The group based task requires teams of students, usually 2 members per group to research analyze and apply the principles of law relating to trusts - learning outcome 6. 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.. The individual based part of this task will involve answering questions relating to business structures including the law relating to trusts and partnership together with protection of business interests by registration.

Due Date: Written report due in Week 13, oral presentations relating to the contents of the report to be conducted in weeks 13 & 14
Indicative weight: 30%
Submission Procedure: Submit online through Turnitin on blackboard and oral presentations conducted during class time.

Assessment Task 3 - Open Book Test (2 hours)
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 partnership, trusts and other business structures, agency and franchising - learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 6 & 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.

Due Date: Conducted in week 15 - during normal scheduled class time.
Indicative Weight: 40%
Submission Procedure:
In class supervised open book test (2 hr, plus 15 min reading time)

Assessment Matrix

Marking Guide:

Grades received throughout semester are only indicative of your performance. These grades will only contribute to your final grade if you complete all assessments to an acceptable industry standard. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN. If students fail to submit one or more pieces of assessment, the maximum grade available is DNS.

Please refer to the Final Grades table below:

80-100 HD High Distinction
70-79 DI Distinction
60-69 CR Credit
50-59 PA Pass
0-49 NN Fail
DNS DNS Did Not Submit

 Further information regarding the application of the grading criteria will be provided by your teacher.

Other Information

Submission Requirements

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 extensions of time. (Please refer to the information in the Late Submission Procedure section below)
• If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program manager or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
• 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 on
• Each page of your assessment should include a footer with your name, student number, the title of the assessment,
unit code and title and page numbers.

Late Submission Procedures

If you are prevented from submitting an assessment on time, by circumstances outside your control, you must apply in advance for an extension to the due date of up to seven calendar days.
More Information:
Form to use:

Where an extension of greater than seven days is needed, you must apply for special consideration. Applications for special consideration must be submitted no later than two working days after the assessment task deadline or scheduled examination.
More Information:;ID=g43abm17hc9w
Form to use:

Reassessment policy
Students who achieve an indicative grade of greater than 50%, yet have not demonstrated competency across all learning outcomes will be given the opportunity to undertake an oral questioning with the assessor in which they will be required to demonstrate competence in the elements or learning outcomes not yet demonstrated. If students cannot demonstrate competency across all learning outcomes or elements of the course the maximum grade they can achieve is NN or Not Yet Competent.

Adjustments to Assessment
In certain circumstances students may be eligible for an assessment adjustment. For more information about the circumstances under which the assessment arrangements might be granted please access the following website:
More Information:;ID=kehn9bz22r41

Course Overview: Access Course Overview