• Offered by Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Ron Levy
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2016
    See Future Offerings
This course picks up where the introductory courses Australian Public Law and Commonwealth Constitutional Law leave off. We will look at constitutional law in further detail, focusing on how Australia and other democracies use constitutional law – both written and unwritten – to regulate the democratic process (elections, referendums, parliaments, political parties, etc.). 
 
We especially consider attempts to use law to improve the practice of democratic politics – for example, to make politics less partisan, more fair and equal, more rational, or more democratic. We also consider whether such legal solutions have met with success or have tended to raise new problems of their own. Looking at international comparisons will help to answer questions about whether alternative constitutional systems for regulating democracy have been effective overseas, and whether or not they could be adopted in Australia.
 
This is a semi-intensive course running for only half of the semester. The seminar format will be a mixture of discussion and lecture-style presentation, with breaks. Discussions will centre in part around informal student ‘Responses’ to readings (see below). While the seminars are three hours long, each is punctuated by hands-on 'demonstrations' giving concrete illustrations of the themes we will discuss. There will usually be at least one demonstration per class. For example, you will try your hand at ‘gerrymandering’ to rort a hypothetical electoral system. We will also have compelling visiting speakers such as government Ministers (federal or territorial) and top government officials. 
 

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to:
1. Outline and summarise how constitutional law shapes democracy and democratic institutions in Australia and contrast it to systems in other countries;
2. Recognise and explain problems raised by the use of constitutional law to regulate democratic institutions, including partisan battles over the interpretation of legal rules, and the often elusive search for neutral decision-makers;
3. Evaluate how national or state political culture and unwritten constitutional norms play a role in shaping democracy and democratic institutions, and in turn how constitutional laws and institutions help shape political culture and norms;
4. Outline, summarise and/or synthesise advanced and coherent knowledge of the constitutional laws impacting on elections, voting, political finance, parliament, and political parties, and critique those laws in terms of democratic strengths and deficits;
5. Identify and analyse which aspects of constitutional law are most relevant to issues of political partisanship and political system fairness;
6. Question and research with some independence to produce a ‘Law Reform Paper’ on a sub-topic of constitutional law relevant to themes covered in the course;
7. Communicate law reform ideas to a variety of audiences.

Other Information

In 2016, this course is running as a semi-intensive course for only half of the semester. The seminar format will be a mixture of discussion and lecture-style presentation, with breaks. Discussions will centre in part around informal student ‘Responses’ to readings (see below). While the seminars are three hours long, each is punctuated by hands-on 'demonstrations' giving concrete illustrations of the themes we will discuss. There will usually be at least one demonstration per class. For example, you will try your hand at ‘gerrymandering’ to rort a hypothetical electoral system. We will also have compelling visiting speakers such as government Ministers (federal or territorial) and top government officials.

Indicative Assessment

• Law Reform Paper (60 marks)
• Reading Responses (10 marks each x 3): Critical reflection on class readings, due 4pm the day before any three of seven seminars.
• Workshop on work-in-progress (10 marks, pass/fail): Informal discussion to aid students in Law Reform Paper development.”

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Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a program which includes the Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor and completed LAWS2202/LAWS6202 Commonwealth Constitutional Law.

Fees

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:
3
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.

Units EFTSL
6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $3054
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2016 $4368
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4613 15 Feb 2016 26 Feb 2016 31 Mar 2016 27 May 2016 In Person N/A

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