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Business Law, 3rd Edition


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Business Law, 3rd Edition

Nickolas James

ISBN: 978-0-730-30574-3 October 2015 740 Pages

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The third edition of James’ innovativetext continues to demonstrate business law principles in a clear and accessible style.  The objective of a business law subject is to ensure that students acquire sufficient knowledge of the law of business so they can recognise and solve simple legal problems, organise their affairs in order to avoid more complex or serious legal problems and appreciate the connection of legal principles within a range of commercial environments.


Because the majority of students are required to study business law as part of either a commerce or business degree, this textbook follows a functional approach to the study of business law rather than doctrinal so the principles of business law are contextualised within a business environment.


Business students need to know more than what the law is, they need to know where to find it, how to read it, how to use it and how it impacts on all facets of business. Students who use this textbook will develop a greater awareness of the law and its broad application to business and commercial environments. 

Preface  viii
About the author  xi
How to use this book  xii
Acknowledgements  xiv
Abbreviations  xvi
Cases  xx
Statutes xxiv

PART 1: Foundations  3

Chapter 1. Introducing the law 4

Introduction 6

The nature of law 8

Justice, ethics and politics 20

Chapter 2. Understanding the Australian legal system 50

Introduction 52

The Australian Constitution 52

The legislature 61

The executive 72

The judiciary 81

Chapter 3. Exercising legal skills 112

Introduction 114

Finding the law 115

Reading the law 120

Thinking like a lawyer 143

Writing like a lawyer 148

PART 2: Legal consequences 161

Chapter 4. Causing harm 162

Introduction 164

Causing harm 164

Deliberately causing harm to person or property 168

Deliberately causing financial harm 208

Carelessly causing financial harm 213

The consequences of causing harm 218

Chapter 5. Making deals 228

Introduction 230

Contracts 230

Requirement 1: agreement 231

Requirement 2: intention 241

Requirement 3: consideration 246

Enforceability 255

Lack of consent 255

Lack of legality 270

Lack of formality 271

Chapter 6. Enforcing deals 280

Introduction 282

False representations and broken promises 282

Terms of the contract 282

Non-contractual representations and promises 301

Enforcing the contract 306

Remedies 312

The end of the contract 322

Chapter 7. Dealing with agents 332

Introduction 334

Getting someone else to do it 334

Scope of authority 337

The agent’s duties 344

The agent’s entitlements 349

Liability of agent and principal 351

Concluding the agency 353

Chapter 8. Dealing with consumers and competitors 362

Introduction 364

Protecting consumers 364

Dealing with consumers 367

Regulating competition 402

Dealing with competitors 403

Chapter 9. Protecting IP 432

Introduction 434

Intellectual property law 434

Copyright 437

Patents 466

Designs 474

Breach of con dence 477

Information privacy 479

PART 3: Business ownership 497

Chapter 10. Starting a business 498

Introduction 500

Preparation 500

Selecting a business structure 503

Licences and registration 522

Renting or buying the premises 523

Franchising 539

Opening for business 543

Chapter 11. Financial matters 554

Introduction 556

Borrowing and raising money 556

Making payments 567

Paying tax 576

Taking out insurance 582

Chapter 12. Business ownership and employment 598

Introduction 600

Rights and responsibilities of business owners 600

Employing workers 629

Chapter 13. Financial di culty 654

Introduction 656

Financial difficulty: the customer 656

Financial difficulty: the business 668

Closing the business 691

Glossary 703

Index 723

  • Emphasis on presenting balance of cases nationwide


  • Chapter 5 Making Deals contracts coverage bolstered


  • Chapter 8 Dealing with consumers and competitors has had significant revision in accordance with the requirements in the Australian Consumer Law, as set out in the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Its expanded coverage will include more detail regarding ‘cartel conduct’.


  • Chapter 7 Dealing with agents is revised, and expands the coverage of contract law in the text to 4 chapters


  • Chapter 9 Protecting IP has been revised in accordance with changes under the Copyright Act and includes recent law cases relating to intellectual property and copyright infringements


  • New ‘Caution!’ feature identifies legal consequences that may arise


  • New ‘Checklist’ feature lists the key legal learning outcomes from reading various chapter sections


  • Updated Case Law summaries


  • Chapter 10 Financing a business – revised to cover rules relating to securities over personal property and the minimum levels of capital and solvency required for insurers under the Insurance Act


  • Chapter 13 Experiencing financial difficulty – updated to cover changes to credit licences and responsible lending requirements under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009.
  • Each chapter begins and ends with ‘Johnny and Ash’ – a framing narrative which establishes the importance and relevance of the business law concepts presented, by describing a particular problem or situation. This feature appears in each chapter and involves a range of scenarios between two characters: Johnny, a restaurant owner, and Ash, a solicitor. Johnny and Ash begin each chapter by discussing one of more of the key issues explored within the chapter, and conclude each chapter with the resolution of those issues. They do so in a way which grounds these key issues in the real world, demonstrating how and why these issues might arise in business practice. The various scenarios link together into a continuing storyline, engaging the students’ interest as they progress from chapter to chapter


  • Chapter 3, Exercising Legal Skills, describes and develops important legal skills such as research, reading, interpretation and writing. This is an important chapter, not found in most introductory business law textbooks


  • Where appropriate, tables, diagrams, flowcharts and concept maps are used to illustrate  the more complex material within the text


  • Each chapter is periodically punctuated with questions which require the student to either reflect, research or revise key points. These questions ensure that students engage with the text actively rather than passively. Each section within a chapter concludes with a set of revision questions testing the student’s ability to recall the key points from the section


  • Throughout the text the student is referred to the many useful online resources relevant to the practice of business law in Australia


  • ‘Law in context’ boxes offer alternative perspectives on the law described in the main text. These perspectives include the operation of the law in practice, ethical perspectives, the portrayal of the law in popular culture, philosophical or historical perspectives on the law, insights upon the law from other disciplines such as economics or social science, the political context within which the law was developed and the law in a global context


  • Each chapter concludes with a set of quiz questions for students to test their own understanding of the content, as well as a set of exercises where the student can apply their knowledge to the solution of particular legal problems or further explore more challenging aspects of the law


  • Balances legal doctrine, practical perspectives, law in context and critical perspectives.


  • Organised into 13 manageable chapters corresponding with a typical semester, making it possible to use the entire textbook and cover all relevant business law topics in appropriate depth. No need to customise this textbook to suit the subject outline


  • Presents a functional rather than doctrinal approach, e.g. instead of ‘tort law’ and ‘contract law’, the chapters look at ‘causing harm’ and ‘making deals’.