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Harvard University

Contract Law: From Trust to Promise to Contract

Harvard University via edX


Learn about contracts from former Harvard Law Professor Charles Fried, one of the world's leading authorities on contract law. Contracts are promises that the law will enforce. But when will the law refuse to honor a promise? What happens when one party does not hold to their part of the deal? This version of the course adds new units on Interpretation, Agency, Partnerships, Corporations, and Government Regulation.

We are exposed to contracts in all areas of our life -- agreeing to terms when downloading a new computer program, hiring a contractor to repair a leaking roof, and even ordering a meal at a restaurant. Knowing the principles of contracts is not just a skill needed by lawyers, it illuminates for everyone a crucial institution that we use all the time and generally take for granted.

This contract law course, with new materials and updated case examples, is designed to introduce the range of issues that arise when entering and enforcing contracts. It will provide an introduction to what a contract is and also analyze the purpose and significance of contracts. Then, it will discuss the intent to create legal relations, legality and morality, and the distinction between gifts and bargains. The course also investigates common pitfalls: one-sided promises, mistake, fraud, and frustration. With the knowledge of what makes contracts and how they can go wrong, Professor Fried will discuss remedies and specific performance. Finally, Professor Fried will introduce how contracts can create rights for third parties.

The course's instructor, Charles Fried, has been teaching at Harvard Law School for more than 50 years and has written extensively on contracts. Not only is Professor Fried a leading authority on contract law, but he also utilizes a story-telling approach to explaining the topic, which creates a unique and interesting class experience.

Taught by

Charles Fried


4.3 rating, based on 15 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at edX based on 249 ratings

Start your review of Contract Law: From Trust to Promise to Contract

  • Participating in the HLS2X: Contract Law course, offered by Harvard University and instructed by Charles Fried, has been an incredibly enriching experience. The course's quality and teaching methodology are of an outstanding level, providing a compr…
  • Dr. Greg Pierce
    Proud to get 85%...60 is passing for the course.

    If you only want an easy course so you can show off a Harvard certificate then move on to something else, this is not for you. But if you want to challenge your brain you will actually enjoy Contract Law.
    The course is laid out in a manner that it gets harder as you go along. Professor Fried is so interesting he is a master at pulling you into the subject.

    My wife says if I exercise my brain I might delay dementia. That being so, now at 70, this course gave me plenty of exercise.
  • Wonderful Course. Charles Fried, the lecturer, has a fantastic storytelling ability, and really teaches the foundational concepts as well as some of the minutiae of contracts. The tests are not difficult, but really gauge one's understanding of the concepts. I was thoroughly pleased with this course.
  • Anonymous
    This course is extremely vague and doesn't provide any practical benefits for someone who wants to specialise in areas of contract law. It might be beneficial for a child or young teenager who wants to get introduced to contract law but it's lacking substance and discusses historical paintings instead.
  • Yngwi
    All concepts are presented in a very understandable way and are supported by precedents. Videos are interesting to follow. Main downside for me was lack of written supplemental material and absence of structured discussion on forums.
  • Anonymous
    best course about contracts,harvard never disappoints, the teacher is clear in the explanations, and offers several practical cases.
    I noticed only lack of legislation to justify
  • Prior to this course, I have only taken one law-related course in college. The course is fun and easy to understand. It introduces some core principals and some interesting legal disputes. I would not say it can help me in any practical scenarios, but it helps me to understand the fundamentals of contracts.

    The first MOOC I have finished in a long time, so that's great.
  • Stanley Mason
    I love this course because I want to know more about, and to study more option on it so I'm with to listen to every thing that will be giving in here hope you will understand me than for the review
  • Vadim S.
  • Espero que seja um curso muito útil e necessário aí dia a dia para quem trabalha no ramo como advogado e dono de imobiliárias.
  • John Walsh
  • Dawn D Shaw
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