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"There is no doubt that, so far as contract law as a whole is concerned, the most important development in the past 25 years was the replacement of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) with the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), and the creation of the Australian Consumer Law. However, in relation to the common law of contract, it is difficult to pinpoint major developments. In part that is because the basic principles of contract law were established quite some time ago. Much of contract law was revised by the High Court in the 1980s. Significant developments since 1988 are not so easy to identify. Another reason for the failure of the law to develop in a positive way has been the simple fact that relatively few contract cases get to the High Court. Since the intermediate courts of appeal cannot make new law, Australian contract law has tended to stagnate. However, the decision in Andrews v ANZ to resurrect the old equitable jurisdiction in penalties probably marks a significant change. Whether it was a change for the better remains to be seen.”

John W Carter