• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law, Asian Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

This course introduces students to the legal systems South Asia, and considers the relationship between law, governance and development in the region. 

 The course will cover key academic and policy debates about law and development in South Asia, including:

  •  the general features of law and legal systems in countries of South Asia, including the influence of legal transplants, state-building and Rule of Law initiatives, revolutionary change, religious law, custom and tradition;
  •  the multiple meanings of ‘law’ in the social, political, judicial and legislative contexts of the South Asia;
  •  introduction to and critical consideration of theoretical frameworks employed to make sense of a diversity of social, economic and political conditions in the region, such as liberal-democratic theory, rights discourse, Rule of Law theory, Orientalism, postcolonial legal theory, and law and development discourses;
  •  key issues relating to constitutionalism and state-building, including representative democracy, political movements and emerging civil society networks;
  •  international territorial disputes, domestic challenges of regionalism, ethnic and/or sectarian strife;
  •  law and human rights, including debates about the status and recognition of religious law, particularly those of gender discrimination and minority rights, and formal and informal justice mechanisms; and
  •  the role of law in bringing socio-economic change, tackling wealth and power disparities, equitable use of natural resources and foreign aid, undermining elite control of the political economy.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. have an understanding of the contemporary shape as well as historical evolution of the legal systems and political structures of South Asian countries;
  2. be able to critically analyse South Asian laws and the role of legal institutions as possible means of achieving social justice and political change;
  3. be able to evaluate contemporary academic and policy debates about ‘good governance’, ‘rule of law’, ‘access to justice’ and ‘structural reforms’, particularly as these relate to allocations of power and resources along class, religious/caste, ethno-linguistic, regional and gender lines.
  4. be able to access and analyse South Asian legal materials, and to employ a variety of tools and methodological approaches useful for legal research and practice in South Asian countries.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Research Paper (5000-600 words) (60) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Three in-class individual and group assignments (10% each) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Class Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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.


Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 26 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours.

Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week.

Click here for the LLM Masters Program timetable.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Master of Laws (7300XLLM, MLLM), Master of Laws specialising in International Law (7300XSINTL), Master of Laws specialising in Law, Governance and Development (7300SLGD), Master of Laws specialising in Environmental Law (7300SEVNL), Master of Laws specialising in Government and Commercial Law (7300SGCL), Master of Laws specialising in International Security Law (7300SISL), Master of Laws in Migration (NLLML), Master of Laws in International Law (NLLIL), Master of Laws in Environmental Law (NLLEN), Master of Laws in Law, Governance & Development (NLLGD), Master of Laws in International Security Law (NLLSL), Master of Laws in Government and Regulation (NLLGR), Master of Laws (Legal Practice) (7312XLLMLP), Master of Diplomacy/Master of Laws (7883SINTL), Master of Legal Practice (MLEGP), Master of International Law (7310XMINTL), Master of Environmental Law (7309XMENVL), Master of Law, Governance & Development (7317XMLGD), Master of International Security Law (7318XMISL), Master of Government and Commercial Law (7313XMGCL); OR Juris Doctor (7330XJD, 7330HJD or MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 level LAWS courses or five 6100 level LAWS courses; OR Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions; OR Master of Military Law (MMILL); OR Juris Doctor - online (MJDOL) and have completed LAWS8712 Australian Public Law & International Law B. Students undertaking any ANU graduate program may apply for this course. Enrolments are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the ANU College of Law for permission number.

Prescribed Texts

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately 2 weeks prior to the commencement of the 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.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5460
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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