• Offered by Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Anthony Connolly
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2014
    See Future Offerings

This course explores a number of important theoretical issues concerning law.  These issues include the nature and function of law in modern societies, the nature of citizens' obligations under law, the nature of legal reasoning and the interpretation of legal texts, the relationship between law, power, justice and democracy and the capacity of the law to provide for gender, cultural and other forms of difference. The course proceeds by way of a critical examination of the leading contemporary schools of thought about law and legal issues. In the course of this examination, specific attention may be paid to the perspectives of these schools on such topical issues as civil disobedience, freedom of speech and indigenous sovereignty.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

At the conclusion of the course, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate a familiarity with and understanding of those key thinkers about law and legal systems covered in the course
  • demonstrate a familiarity with and understanding of the main types of descriptive, justificatory and critical argumentation about law and legal systems
  • engage in an improved form of reflective and critical thinking about the law and legal reasoning
  • appreciate the theoretical background of a range of legal decisions and contemporary legal issues.


Indicative Assessment

Examination (closed book) 2 questions, 2 hours 60 per cent.
Essay (1200 words) based on seminar presentation 20 per cent.
Seminar presentation (5-10 minutes) and discussion of presentation - 10 per cent.
Seminar attendance and participation - 10 per cent.

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Every week there will be two 1 hour lectures and a 1 hour tutorial.  Students are expected to devote approximately 10 hours overall per week to this course.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a program which includes a Bachelor of Laws or the Juris Doctor program (7330). Students must have completed or be completing five LAWS courses at 1000 level.

Prescribed Texts

The course is generally based on a two volume reading brick containing relevant articles and book extracts.

Preliminary Reading

Hart, HLA (1961) - The Concept of Law (Chapter 1).  Bix, B (2006) - Jurisprudence: Theory and Context (4th ed) (Chapters 1 and 2).

A reading guide will be available on the course webpage.

Assumed Knowledge

This course presupposes that students have some legal knowledge through the study of a central area of law, such as torts or constitutional law. It does not assume that you have knowledge or skills in philosophy, political theory, economics or other social sciences - though any such knowledge and skills may be of assistance in undertaking this course. 


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1626
2014 $2808
2013 $2808
2012 $2808
2011 $2778
2010 $2718
2009 $2670
2008 $2670
2007 $2670
2006 $2646
2005 $2298
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $2916
2014 $3762
2013 $3756
2012 $3756
2011 $3756
2010 $3750
2009 $3426
2008 $3426
2007 $3426
2006 $3426
2005 $3234
2004 $2916
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6940 21 Jul 2014 01 Aug 2014 31 Aug 2014 30 Oct 2014 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions