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 OutcomesUpon successful completion of this course, it is expected that students will be able to:
1. Discuss and explain key kinds of descriptive, justificatory and critical argumentation about law and legal issues;
2. Explain and identify familiarity with the ideas of key thinkers in legal theory;
3. Discuss and critically evaluate the ideas and arguments of legal theorists covered in the course;
4. Identify and discuss in a more theoretically informed style law and legal issues;
5. Identify and critically engage with some of the theoretical background of legal decisions and contemporary legal issues;
6. Formulate, devise and then orally present a theoretically informed analysis and argument about matters raised in this course.
7. Engage critically in a theoretically informed and well-structured analysis and argument in relation to matters raised in this course.
8. Reflect critically upon written legal theoretical materials relevant to the learning activities engaged in in this course.
Indicative AssessmentThere are three compulsory items of assessment:
• a seminar presentation worth 20% of the final mark;
• a research essay (2000 words) worth 40% of the final mark; and
• a final examination worth 40% of the final mark.
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.
WorkloadThere are two one-hour lectures per week plus one one hour seminar per week. In addition to attending classes students should allocate approximate 6 hours to reading in preparation for class. Students are expected to devote approximately 9 hours overall per week to this course.
Effective learning in this course will be achieved by a combination of:
1. Reading, analysing and critically reflecting upon the required readings each week - together with recommended and other related written and online materials where appropriate;
2. Critically reflecting upon and engaging with the ideas and discussion generated in course lectures;
3. Participating in weekly seminars, including critically reflecting upon and engaging with the seminar presentations of your peers;
4. Engaging in informal discussion with your peers and others about the issues and ideas encountered in this course
Requisite and Incompatibility
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:
- 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.
Offerings and Dates
|Class number||Class start date||Last day to enrol||Census date||Class end date||Mode Of Delivery|
|8715||23 Jul 2018||30 Jul 2018||31 Aug 2018||26 Oct 2018||In Person|