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.
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.
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
The course is generally based on a two volume reading brick containing relevant articles and book extracts.
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.
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. 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.
Offerings and Dates
|Class number||Class start date||Last day to enrol||Census date||Class end date||Mode Of Delivery||Class Summary|
|7384||18 Jul 2016||29 Jul 2016||31 Aug 2016||28 Oct 2016||In Person||N/A|