"I like contract as promise."

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Enhancing Student Learning of Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility in Australian Law Schools by Improving Our Teaching

M J Le Brun*

Which theory for upholding contracts do you find most attractive? The will theory? Contract as bargain? Expectation? Reliance? Contract as promise?”

“I like contract as promise.”

Why? What resonates about the theory? Give me an example.”

“Ummm, let’s see. If I don’t think that you’re going to do something, I’ll promise to do something for you so that you’ll give me your promise.”

And how does that obligate you, the fact that we’ve both made promises?”

“Obligate me? What do you mean, obligate me? My promise doesn’t obligate me. Only you. I only gave you a promise in order to get yours. I’ve no intention of performing.”1

In late 1998, I was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Committee for University Teaching and Staff Development to improve the teaching of Legal Ethics (“LE”) and Professional Responsibility (“PR”) in Australian law schools and faculties.2 In this article I report on the work that I assumed under the Fellowship, describe what I have learned from this experience, and note some concerns that I have about the future direction of education in LE/PR in Australian Law Schools.

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