• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest Law, Policy Studies, Political Sciences, Politics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Andrew Banfield
    • Dr Svitlana Chernykh
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Summer Session 2015
    See Future Offerings

This course will provide an overview of the major debates in comparative judicial politics.  The primary goal is to familiarise students with principal questions and methodological approaches to the study of a major subfield in political science.  This is not a course in constitutional law and we will not focus on the development of legal doctrines or the close reading of cases. Rather, the focus of this class will be on studying law and courts as a political institution and judges as political actors. The topics that may be covered will include: judicial behaviour, strategic decision-making, the global spread of judicial review, judicial independence, litigation and legal mobilisation, and judicial careers.  The focus of this course will be comparative with an emphasis on advanced industrial democracies; however, we will discuss courts and legal systems in new democracies and authoritarian regimes as well.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon Successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Critically analyse the structure and dynamics of judicial political actors
  2. Analyse the contribution of the judicial system to our understanding of political science
  3. Apply the various analytical frameworks of judicial politics
  4. Place judicial institutions in a comparative framework by making reference to advanced democracies
  5. Demonstrate sound research, writing, and oral presentation skills.

Indicative Assessment

Seminar Participation (10%) [LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Presentation, 15 minutes (10%) [LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Essay, 2500 words (40%) [LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Take home examination, 2000 words, due 5 days after start time (40%) [LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

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.


This course will be taught as an intensive class in the summer session.  26 hours of lectures and 13 hours of tutorials.  The lectures and tutorials would be conducted over 10 working days. In addition to the ten-day block students would be expected to complete 30 hours of reading before the ten-day block and 30 hours during the ten-day block and 30 hours after the ten-day block.

Course Schedule

Day One - Monday 2 February 2015 (0900-1700)

Day Two - Wednesday 4 February 2015 (0900-1700)

Day Three - Friday 6 February 2015 (0900-1700)

Day Four - Monday 9 February 2015 (0900-1700)

Day Five - Wednesday 11 February 2015 (0900-1600)

Day Six - Friday 13 February 2015 (0900-1300)

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of 1000 level POLS courses; or with permission of the convener

Prescribed Texts

Keith E. Whittington, R. Daniel Kelemen, and Gregory A. Caldeira eds, The Oxford Handbook of Law and Politics (OUP: 2010)




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. Tuition fees are indexed annually. 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
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
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.

Summer Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
1720 01 Jan 2015 23 Jan 2015 23 Jan 2015 31 Mar 2015 In Person N/A

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