Question One – Problem Question: Emily’s Tree Change
Emily lives in Sydney, where she works for the local council. She has been considering a tree change for a while, as she is musically inclined and has not had the time to pursue her hobbies. She receives a call from her aunty June, who lives in the Queensland town of Woodford. June is 90 years old and quite frail, and tells Emily she misses her. June’s house is large and she is afraid that it is getting beyond her. Emily decides to visit June, and finds Woodford a delightful town. It is picturesque, and has many musicians and artists, as well as being a stones’ throw from an annual Folk Festival. June asks Emily if she would consider moving into the house to look after her. Emily states that she has a job and an apartment in Sydney, and it would be quite a big move. June replies saying Emily’s Sydney residence is a small rental flat – if Emily will look after her until she passes away, she can have the title of the Woodford property which is large and in the sought after Girard’s Hill district. After considering her options, Emily packs up her life and sets off to Woodford. She does not find a job, but spends her time looking after June and the big house on the hill.
Some time passes, and June dies peacefully in her sleep. Upon her passing, June’s son, Lewis, shows up at the house. He claims he is June’s oldest son and is therefore entitled to the property. He claims that he gave June a potted Mozambique orchid years ago, and she had promised at that time that the house would be his when she passed in exchange for the rare plant. He presents a thank-you card from June where she says “Thanks so much for the orchid – in return I would like to leave my house to you in my will.” Emily and Lewis looked through the cupboards and even June’s safe, but there was no will. Emily was upset. She had left her job in Sydney and spent many years taking care of June. She felt that all the love and affection she had given to June counted for something, much more than one orchid. She has also developed friendships in Woodford and does not want to leave the town or the house.
Give Emily advice. Are there any legal rules which she can rely on to remain in June’s house? What about the exchange of the house for a plant? Do you think that Lewis can claim the title in exchange for an orchid?
Do not look to other areas of law such as the rules of intestacies or letters of administration. This question is only concerned with matters arising out of or studied within Contract A.
Question Two – Persuasive Question: what is reasonable notice?
“Reasonable notice” of a term must be given if it is to form a part of a contract. What is “reasonable notice”? What if a person cannot read or understand the term? Explore this idea with reference to Thompson v London, Midland & Scottish Railway Company.
Question Three - Fazel’s furry friend
Fazel is a 17-year-old student, in year 11 of high school. He is enrolled in legal studies, and has the ambition of becoming a solicitor.
To earn extra pocket money for his weekend activities, Fazel walks dogs for his neighbours. Following a legal studies class which discussed Contract Law, he decides to extend himself by preparing written contracts for his customers to sign. He drafts up an agreement that says:
Fazel’s Dog Walking Service: Terms and Conditions of agreement for a premium 2-hour dog walking session:
a) All dogs to be walked will be healthy and non-vicious in nature
b) A standard dog walking session will include at least 45 minutes off the leash play in the Viewbank fenced dog park
c) Dogs will be returned to owners on time and in the condition that they are handed over
d) If a force majeure event occurs, the terms of this contract are to be renegotiated
Pleased with himself, and the professional appearance of his contract, Fazel approaches a new neighbour, Tony, who has just moved in with a toy Shih Tzu called Dolly. Tony is very thankful for Fazel’s visit, as he has not had the time to take Dolly out, due to being busy with moving house. He happily signs the contract, pays up front and hands over the adorable puppy. Fazel is equally happy as he can now ask out Jenny, a girl at school.
When Fazel reaches the Viewbank fenced dog park, he finds it closed for maintenance work. There is another dog park in the next suburb, but the weather is beginning to turn, and Fazel decides to return Dolly and organise another day to complete the walking. When he returns to Tony’s house, however, he finds no one home. It begins to bucket down with rain. Not wanting to leave tiny little Dolly outside, he scoops her up in his arms, and places her under his jacket as he runs home. He reasons that he can play with Dolly in the garage, where she will be warm and dry, and return to Tony’s once the 2 hours are up.
However, upon returning home, Fazel’s mother insists that he complete his homework. Fazel gives Dolly to his little sister, asking her to entertain the Shih Tzu and exercise her in the garage while he finishes off his maths assessment. Fazel’s sister is happy to play with the friendly and adorable Dolly. She decides, however, that playing hairdressing is much more fun than catch, and the garage becomes a doggy-salon where Dolly receives a beauty treatment. The treatment includes colour and a haircut.
Once the hour is up, Fazel returns Dolly to his neighbour. Tony is upset with Dolly’s new hair do. He explains that she is entered in a dog show at the weekend, which she now cannot possibly win. He asks for his money back and says he will never use Fazel’s service again. Fazel says he will not return the money as the contract states that the terms are negotiable if a force majeure event occurs. Tony does not know what a force majeure event is, and says he does not care. He does not feel he should pay, and says Fazel is lucky he does not call the police. Fazel has already messaged Jenny and asked her out, so he is relying on the money to fund his date.
Advise Fazel. Only refer to legal principles/cases from Contract A. You are not being tested on areas outside of what you have been taught this semester. Also, assume that Fazel is not a service provider under the ACL – I am not looking for an answer based on the ACL.