- Class Number 2250
- Term Code 2930
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Matthew Zagor
- Matthew Zagor
- AsPr Ron Levy
- Prof Anthony Connolly
- William Bateman
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 25/02/2019
- Class End Date 31/05/2019
- Census Date 31/03/2019
- Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
This course examines the structure and themes of Australian public law, providing a bridge to all other public law study in the curriculum. In essence, the course examines how public power is structured, distributed, and controlled in Australia. The distinctive roles played by the legislature, the executive and the judiciary receive special attention. Subsidiary themes in the course are protection of individual rights in the Australian legal system, and constitutional change and evolution in Australia. The following topics will be covered:
- the constitutional and legislative framework for Australian public law
- major concepts and themes in Australian public law, including federalism, separation of powers, constitutionalism, representative democracy, rule of law, and liberalism
- the Legislature, including the structure of Australian legislatures, parliamentary supremacy, and express and implied constitutional limitations on legislative power
- the Executive, including the structure of Executive government, executive power, and liability of the Crown
- the Judiciary, including the constitutional separation of judicial power, and the administrative law implications of judicial separation
- constitutional change and evolution, including constitutional amendment.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
Australian Public Law is designed to introduce students to the basic principles and doctrines of public law in Australia. Students will understand what public law is all about and why it is important.
By the conclusion of this course, students who have successfully completed all of the requirements will have the knowledge and skills to:
1. Describe and explain the reasons why countries adopt written constitutions to regulate the control of government power and the key features of Australia’s Constitution, including the capacity for constitutional change;
2. Identify and analyse the core features, principles and rules of the Australian constitutional framework covered in the course;
3. Analyse and predict how unresolved and/or ambiguous questions of public law could be resolved by the courts through an analysis of case law, underlying policy and the judicial method;
4. Identify and use a range of legally specific research principles, methods and tools appropriate to plan and execute a public law research project;
5. Select and apply a range of approaches to written and oral communication, and apply the critical thinking required to bring about solutions to complex legal problems and/or issues in the context of advising a client in an Australian public law matter.
6. Access, use, interpret and apply a range of domestic secondary legal resources to solve complex public law problems/issues.
The content of this course is informed by the research interests and expertise of the lecturers.
Anthony J. Connolly, The Foundations of Australian Public Law: State, Power, Accountability (Cambridge University Press, 2017)
Other textbooks on Australian public law which may be of use in supplementing your reading of the prescribed text for the course, or as starting points for further reading/research include:
- George Williams, Sean Brennan and Andrew Lynch, Blackshield and Williams’ Australian Constitutional Law Theory: Commentary and Materials (7th ed, 2018, Federation Press)
- Clark, David, Principles of Australian Public Law (LexisNexis: 3rd ed, 2010);
- Joseph, Sarah and Melissa Castan, Federal Constitutional Law: A Contemporary View (Thomson Reuters: 3rd ed, 2009);
- Hanks, Peter, Frances Gordon and Graeme Hill, Constitutional Law in Australia (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2012);
- Ratnapala, Suri and Jonathan Crowe, Australian Constitutional Law: Foundations and Theory (Oxford University Press, 3rd ed, 2012);
- Saunders, Cheryl, The Constitution of Australia: A Contextual Analysis (Hart, 2011).
Copies of these are available for restricted loan from the Law Library.
Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
- written comments
- verbal comments
- feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups
ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.
Extensions late submission and penalties - https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties
Penalties for excess word length: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties
Distribution of Grades Policy: Effective from Winter Session and Second Semester 2018 (and until further notice), the current Grading Distribution Policy has been suspended pending the development of a new policy. For further information about the interim policy please see: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/grading
Further Information about the Course: is available from the course WATTLE page. Students are required to access the WATTLE site regularly throughout the course for details on weekly classes and any announcements and updates relating to the course.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Introduction to Australian Public Law - State, Power, Accountability + History and Structure of the Australian State.|
|2||The Political Morality of Australian Public Law – Liberalism, Democracy, and the Rule of Law.|
|3||The Legislature I: Constitutional Disputes Concerning the Structure and Election of Australian Parliaments|
|4||The Legislature II: Legislative Power and State Constitutions|
|5||The Legislature III: Limitations on Legislative Power: Delegation and Abdication of Legislative Power|
|6||The Executive I: The Structure of the Executive & the Nature and Content of Executive Power|
|7||The Executive II: Executive Power (Prerogative & Nationhood)|
|8||The Executive III: Spending & Accountability|
|9||The Judiciary I: The Nature and Separation of Judicial Power|
|10||The Judiciary II: Judicial Adjustment of the Separation of Judicial Power;|
|11||The Judiciary III: the States|
|12||Course Review and Exam Prep|
Tutorials will run from weeks 4-11. Fifty percent of the tutorial slots will be released two weeks before the course starts. Students will be able to swap tutorials up until the start of the tutorial program but not afterwards.
More information about tutorial enrolment will be provided in the first lecture and on the WATTLE site for the course. However, be aware that, in most cases, once you have chosen a tutorial group to attend you must attend that tutorial group throughout the whole semester. Students who need to change tutorial group (for a good reason) must contact the Convenor of the Tutorial Program.
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|Optional Online Quiz||0 %||22/03/2019||25/03/2019||1, 2, 6|
|Tutorial Attendance||0 %||18/03/2019||24/05/2019||1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8|
|Tutorial Participation||10 %||18/03/2019||04/07/2019||1,2,3,4,5,6|
|Research Essay||50 %||24/04/2019||17/05/2019||1,2,3,4,5,6|
|Final Examination||40 %||06/06/2019||04/07/2019||1,2,3,5,6|
ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:
The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.
Moderation of Assessment
Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.
Please note that there is an exam in this course. The date for the exam in the assessment summary is approximate only. Students should check the examinations timetable once it has been released to confirm date and time of the exam.
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 6
Optional Online Quiz
Details of Task: .This online quiz is designed to give students feedback on their comprehension of the topics and issues covered in the first five weeks of the course. It will cover the principles set out in weeks 1-2, and key ideas discussed in the lectures and flagship jurisprudence about the legislature and legislative power. Students who are struggling with the course content are encouraged to approach either their tutor or one of the lecturers at this stage.
Nature of Task: Optional.
Release Date: The quiz will be posted on the course WATTLE site in Week 5 and an answer guide to the questions will be posted there at the end of Week 6. As this is an optional quiz, students will be able to take it at any time during the semester, although the most benefit will be gained by taking it in Weeks 5-6.
Due Date: Students will have ten days to complete the quiz prior to the answer guide being issued.
Estimated return date: Immediately after completion. Students may then assess their own answers to the questions by reference to the answer guide.
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
Details of Task: The tutorials are designed to give students an opportunity to discuss and practise the skills needed to complete the research essay and the final exam. Class rolls will be taken at the start of each tutorial. It is each student’s responsibility to ensure that he or she is marked as attending their tutorial.
Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to attend 7 of 8 tutorials (without grounds) will result in a 5 mark penalty for the course.
Weighting: 0%.(Possible 5 mark penalty).
Release Date: Week 4
Due Date: Ongoing. If you are unable to attend your tutorial due to illness or special circumstances you should retain evidence of the reasons for your absence. If you miss more than one tutorial, you should then provide this evidence to the Course Convenor as soon as is practicable (and in any event, by Monday of Week 12 at the latest).
Estimated return date: N/A
Assessment Task 3
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6
Details of Task: The tutorials are designed to give students an opportunity to discuss and practise the skills needed to complete the research essay and the final exam. This assessment task will enable evaluation and feedback on students’ capacity in relation to all of the learning objectives for this course. In our view, it is difficult to acquire the requisite knowledge and skills to successfully understand (and hopefully come to enjoy) the ideas in APL if you do not prepare sufficiently to engage with the tutorials. As such, it is expected that all students who are attending a tutorial will have prepared for the tutorial and will participate in discussion. I
Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to participate will result in a 0 for this task.
Release Date: Week 3
Due Date: Ongoing. If, for any good reason, you have been unable to prepare for a tutorial, please let the tutor know before the tutorial starts.
Estimated return date: Participation marks will be available upon request after Week 12
Assessment Criteria: You must demonstrate a willingness to participate in class discussion by asking questions of the tutor or other participating students and/or by commenting upon the comments and questions of others in a manner aimed at facilitating a better understanding of the topic or issues raised in the class. Participation should be informed by attendance at lectures and by having read the required readings for the previous week. Students are encouraged to participate on the understanding that all members of the class be shown respect and be given adequate opportunities to participate.
Specific Assessment Criteria: Participation will be graded according to how well students:
1. Demonstrate their willingness to participate (e.g. by participating regularly);
2. Demonstrate their having attended lectures or having listened to lecture recordings, and having read the required reading for the previous week;
3. Demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate aspects of the tutorial topic or problem, as well as class discussion, and, where appropriate, to apply primary and secondary public law materials to the addressing or solving of those issues and problems;
4. In participating, demonstrate respect for others and for their contributions.
Assessment Task 4
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6
Details of Task: Students must complete an essay from a set list of four questions. The essay offers students an opportunity to engage in further research, analysis and reflection on a topic covered in this course. Students will be expected to undertake independent research, using appropriate primary and secondary resources.
Nature of task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Any student who does not submit the essay will receive a 0 for this task.
Value or weighting: 50%
Release date: Friday 1 March (end of week 1)
Due date: 4 pm Wednesday, 24 April (Week 7) via Turnitin. Late submission (without an extension) is permitted, although late penalties will apply.
Word limit: 2500 words
Estimated return date: By the end of Week 10.
Essays will be graded according to how well they:
- Answer the question asked. The argument in the paper, including the points made to support it, must respond to the question asked. The question will raise many relevant issues within public law. These should be concisely identified, and key issues clearly addressed.
- Reason persuasively and demonstrate critical thinking. The key arguments must be logically set out, clearly expressed, and persuasively argued by reference to relevant supporting materials. Consideration of opposing arguments, and suggestions for change where appropriate, will indicate a level of critical and original thinking.
- Demonstrate sound research and analytical skills. The paper must demonstrate adequate breadth and depth of research, and an ability to apply the research to the question in the construction of key arguments. Primary and secondary materials should be covered.
- Make accurate and succinct use of relevant legal materials. Main points in legal materials must be succinctly and accurately set out, and integrated into the essay. All arguments must be supported by relevant authorities.
- Are clearly written, structured and referenced. There should be a clear theme or argument in the paper, with key points logically set out and organised, and the ideas linked coherently. Papers should use headings and subheadings, appropriate terminology, and correct grammar, syntax and spelling. The style must also be consistent with the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.
Assessment Task 5
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5,6
Description of task: The exam, held during the University examination period at the end of the semester, will require students to answer one problem question. Students will be able to choose from two problem questions. The exam is designed to test the practical application of the legal principles covered in all of the lectures (that is, all material covered in weeks 1-12) and the skills practised in the problem solving tutorials. Legal problem solving skills are essential attributes for all lawyers, and the exam is an opportunity for those skills to be tested. Students will be required to demonstrate an understanding of the relevant legal principles and apply them to a factual scenario presented in the exam.
Nature of task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Any student who does not complete the exam will receive an 0 for the exam.
Timing: During the final examination period. (Note that the date in the assessment summary is approximate only. Students should check the examinations timetable once it has been released to confirm date and time of the exam).
Duration: 75 minutes writing time, 15 minutes reading time.
Permitted Materials: Any except ANU library books and excluded electronic devices.
Estimated return date: After final results are released via the Services Office.
Assessment Criteria: Exam scripts will be graded according to how well they:
- Identify the relevant issues from the factual situation presented in the question;
- Identify and accurately explain the applicable legal principles, giving authority;
- Accurately and concisely apply the legal principles to the factual situation;
- Avoid irrelevant issues;
- Comprise a well-structured and written answer that responds to the question and organises ideas and arguments in a logical way; and
- Comply with the principles of academic honesty.
Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.
You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.
For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.
Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item.
Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.
Extensions and Penalties
Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.
Distribution of grades policy
Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.
Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.
Support for students
The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
- ANU Health, safety & wellbeing for medical services, counselling, mental health and spiritual support
- ANU Diversity and inclusion for students with a disability or ongoing or chronic illness
- ANU Dean of Students for confidential, impartial advice and help to resolve problems between students and the academic or administrative areas of the University
- ANU Academic Skills and Learning Centre supports you make your own decisions about how you learn and manage your workload.
- ANU Counselling Centre promotes, supports and enhances mental health and wellbeing within the University student community.
- ANUSA supports and represents undergraduate and ANU College students
- PARSA supports and represents postgraduate and research students
AsPr Ron Levy
Prof Anthony Connolly