Consider this: you’re walking into an important business meeting with a new client, contractor or supplier. It’s a huge deal with a lot on the line – money, time, resources and your reputation. But you’re confident, because you know how to decipher complex contract terms, analyse potential risks and strategise to de-risk agreements effectively.

Today, having a strong understanding of contract law isn’t just an advantage; it's a necessity. Contracts form the basis of many workplaces’ day-to-day operations. They dictate operational procedures and commercial transactions, define relationships and entitlements, and importantly, they can either protect or expose you to risk. 

Yet, so many professionals prefer to leave it to the lawyers.

A new online short course from Lifelong Learning at UNSW presented by UNSW Law & Justice, arms non-lawyers with critical legal training to confidently manage contract terms and discussions, to protect themselves and their business from legal risk.

Why contract law is critical

The relevance of contract law extends across all facets of business: from procurement and operations to human resources and business development. 

For freelancers and independent contractors, grasping contract law helps you protect your rights and ensure fair compensation. For business owners and entrepreneurs, it empowers you to independently build the foundation of your business while mitigating potential risks. And for non-profits, understanding contracts is crucial to managing resources and maintaining compliance with industry regulations. 

Understanding contract law has also become an increasingly valuable skill in recent years, as Australia’s business environment has taken on new layers of complexity. COVID-19 saw many organisations reviewing employee entitlements on the fly to accommodate additional sick leave, while mass redundancies from budget cuts left people scrambling to calculate their payout. Some businesses launched in a hurry, rushing important IP and trademark processes, while others collapsed, leaving a wake of broken contracts. 

“Contract law is one of those ‘must know’ areas for so many roles and occupations. It has really widespread application both in large organisations with big procurement teams, and in small businesses trying to project a bigger profile by contracting out some aspects of their work. Contracts when done right can provide significant benefits for companies and organisations but they also present a serious risk if done poorly.” - Simon Kozlina, UNSW Lecturer

And, of course, if you keep an eye on the latest business news, you’ll be used to seeing stories of big legal blunders splashed across your news feed. Protecting yourself and your business is more critical than ever. 

About the course: Contract Law for Non-Lawyers

Contract Law for Non-Lawyers is UNSW's response to this challenge. The 3-week online program is designed to empower professionals to confidently navigate the negotiation and analysis of business contracts. 

Led by Simon Kozlina, a Contract Law expert from UNSW Law & Justice, the program blends theory and practice for maximum relevance. Over three weeks, participants will complete approximately 20 hours of self-paced, online learning, including live workshops and discussions.

This interactive format ensures that learners can apply new concepts to their workplace scenarios, translating abstract legal principles into concrete strategies for success.

Participants will explore the legal framework of contracts, understand the significance of terms and conditions, and learn to identify and mitigate risks. Once completed, participants can leverage this expertise to advance in their current role or unlock new opportunities in a different sector or organisation. 

“A really important objective of this course is to help you understand the contract-based risks you face in your organisation or business and to start thinking about ways to address those risks. 

A distinctive feature of this course is that we focus on real-world contracts; we provide a ‘precedent’ or ‘template’ contract for you to analyse or you can bring a contract you have seen or used. The combination of self-paced materials, reflection tasks, video case studies and the online seminars work together to provide a flexible yet nuanced introduction to contract law. 

The course’s focus on key contract principles, a few pertinent cases and real-world scenarios allows you to explore the breadth or depth of knowledge that is relevant for you, whether to improve the running of your operation or to make a stronger contribution at work.” - Simon Kozlina, UNSW Lecturer

Who should take part?

This program is not just for legal novices but for anyone involved in the negotiation, drafting or execution of contracts. Whether you’re a freelancer, business owner or employee, you’ll benefit from gaining a better understanding of contract law. 

Some industries and roles that should consider the program include:

  • Freelancers & Independent Contractors
  • Procurement Officers
  • Project Managers
  • Service Providers
  • Software & Tech Companies
  • Sales
  • Business Owners & Entrepreneurs
  • Non-profit Organisations & Charities
  • Event Planners & Organisers
  • Property & Real Estate
  • Entertainment Industry
  • Construction
  • Marketing & Advertising Professionals
  • Schools
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Healthcare Professionals
  • Sports Agents & Representatives
  • HR Professionals
  • Insurance Professionals

“This course is designed for people who engage with contracts from time to time and for people who are dealing with contracts every day. It provides a combination of a high-level overview of contract law with a detailed analysis of particular types of clauses and terms in contracts. 

The course won’t turn you into a lawyer but it will give you more confidence to know when to go to a lawyer and why. It will help you to think about your organisation’s approach to entering contracts and to reflect on whether to change existing practices in your organisation on the basis of a better appreciation of contract risks.” - Simon Kozlina, UNSW Lecturer.

Ready to enrol?

Give yourself a competitive edge with the Contract Law for Non-Lawyers short course. 

Simon Kozlina UNSW Lecturer