• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

The course aims to engender critical thought about the complex, subtle and still-evolving role of the High Court as a legal, political and social institution in the Australian constitutional system. The course will be structured around a number of topics and themes. These may include, for example: the creation of the High Court and its early struggle to assert itself; the appointment and removal of judges; landmark cases and their impact on the Court; and, the value of a biographical lens to the study of the Court and its role.

Learning Outcomes

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

On the successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Explain, appraise and evaluate the High Court’s role and function in Australian history and contemporary society.
  2. Describe, analyse and critique the social, biographical, political, institutional and legal factors that have framed that function.
  3. Design, plan and execute a substantial piece of written scholarship, with some independence
  4. Utilise legal databases and other reference sources to research relevant materials (including, for example, case law, legislation, scholarly journal articles and books).
  5. Consistently and accurately use legal citation conventions in the course of legal writing
  6. Engage in communication and debate with peers and staff in ways which respect social and cultural diversity.

Other Information

Indicative Assessment

In this course students are expected to develop critical thinking skills along with the skills necessary in preparing and executing research and writing. 

To meet these objectives, it is anticipated there will be 2 compulsory, non-redeemable assessment tasks:
  • A Reflective Class Paper worth 20% [Learning Outcomes 1 and 2]
  • Research Essay worth 80% [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5]
Although both tasks are compulsory, students have a wide range of options available in choosing their topics and methodology for each task.

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.


36 Contact Hours plus private study and reading time

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying Law Honours and completed/completing 5 LAWS courses at 1000; and completed LAWS2204. Or Juris Doctor and completed/completing 5 LAWS courses at 6100 level; and LAWS6204. Or JD online and completed LAWS8712

Prescribed Texts

There will be no dedicated textbook for this course. A variety of resource materials will be placed on the course Wattle site, and extensive recommended readings will be placed on short-term reserve.

In addition, the single most useful reference work, with particular value as a concise introduction to most topics, is Tony Blackshield, Michael Coper and George Williams (eds), The Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia (OUP, 2001).

Preliminary Reading

Students are encouraged to read broadly on topics related to the High Court, including any of biographies of High Court Justices.

The Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia also provides valuable and concise introductions to many topics of interest in the course.

A reading list will be provided on the Wattle course site.

Assumed Knowledge

A visit to the High Court of Australia, and observation of its operations is recommended but not essential.


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
2018 $3420
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $4860
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.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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