The purpose of the assignment is to allow you to undertake independent research into a particular aspect of law, to reflect on and consider particular legal issues and to apply your legal skills to them. It is important for you to have time to think through how to structure and present arguments, and to discuss what the law is or should be in a particular area. This assessment task also gives you the opportunity to put the skills you have learned in tutorials into practice.
The length of the assignment is to be 1,500 words. Do not include the references or bibliography in the word count.
Comprehensive details relating to the assignment are included below. We recommend that you carefully read this information, making sure that when you write your assignment you answer the questions asked and address the criteria. Most marks are given for analysis; very few marks are given for the mere stating of information. See the presentation requirements and the warning about plagiarism below.
John agrees to build an extension to Chen’s house. At the time they enter the agreement, the price of building materials is increasing week by week. John is reluctant to set a price for the work until he knows how much it is going to cost. Chen agrees in the contract that he will pay John “the purchase price of materials as at the date of completion plus $6000 for labour”. The parties also agree that the work must be completed by the end of June, as Chen’s family is coming to visit him at that time. Before the work begins, there is an unexpected increase in labour costs and an equally unexpected drop in the price of building materials. John tells Chen that he will need to increase the labour component to $10,000 or not do the job at all. Chen is anxious that the work be completed by the end of June so reluctantly agrees to the change. John builds the extension but does not finish it until the middle of July. Because of this, Chen had to pay for his family to stay in a hotel for three weeks at a total cost of $1500. Chen is now refusing to pay John more than the price of materials plus $6000 for labour. In addition, he wants John to compensate him for the money he had to pay for the hotel.
Required: Answer the following questions. In each case, give reasons for your answers.
a) What arguments could Chen use to support his refusal to pay John more than the original agreed price? (10 marks)
b) What arguments could Chen use to support his claim for compensation? (10 marks)
c) What arguments could John use to support his claim to the $10,000 he wants Chen to pay? (10 marks)
Submission requirement: Please lodge your assignment according to the instructions (see 1.15 of this description). You should also keep a copy of anything you submit and copies of any articles or materials you have used in your assignment. If plagiarism is suspected you must be able to produce the materials you used to write your assignment. The due date for the assignment is Friday of week 8 of the semester at 10 am.
Extensions of time/late submissions
Extensions of time will only be granted for good reasons and must be asked for BEFORE the due date (unless there are extenuating circumstances). You will need a medical certificate when asking for an extension due to illness. Late submissions (where no extension of time has been granted) will only be accepted at the discretion of the course co-ordinator and, if so accepted, can be penalised one mark for each day past the due date. Please ensure you comply with the requirements regarding who to ask for an extension and the paper work to be filled in.
Return of marked work
Any work not collected during the semester will be disposed of at the end of week 3 in the following semester.
A note on research
In this course it is expected that you will use textbooks, journal articles, government/regulatory web sites etc to research the law. Refer to the sources and internet databases in section 6 of this Course Description to start your research. ‘Wandering aimlessly’ around the internet should be avoided!
You are not expected to spend time finding original cases and reading them. Generally, sufficient information on the main cases can be found in texts and articles. In addition Commentary and cases (with headnotes (summaries)) can be accessed from the CCH online library. Woodward, Bird and Sievers also has a section called ‘Tips on Studying’ (page xiii-xvii) which includes a sample case study answer – well worth looking at.
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