• Class Number 4528
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof James Stellios
    • William Gummow
  • 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
SELT Survey Results

Conflict of Laws, also sometimes called Private International Law, is concerned with what happens in cases where not all of the facts are tied to one jurisdiction. In the federal system of Australia, this can occur both within a domestic intra-Australia context and in an international context. While this course deals with a number of specific theoretical frameworks, it is taught largely from a practical standpoint aimed at preparing lawyers for handling cases with trans-jurisdictional issues. The three core components of the course investigate:

  • Jurisdiction: When domestic courts can hear cases that involve parties and property from outside the territory of the court.
  • Choice of Law: Which law is applicable when a case has connections with a number of different jurisdictions. In particular, this course considers contract, family and tort disputes that involve a variety of jurisdictions.
  • Enforcement of Judgements: How to enforce a court judgement or arbitral award from another jurisdiction in local courts.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. explain, summarise and apply the conflict of laws rules;
  2. recognise, explain and analyse the various themes and theoretical perspectives covered in this course;
  3. plan and conduct research with some independence in the form of a research essay;
  4. apply the conflict of law rules to solve complex conflicts of laws problems in the form of an exam.

Research-Led Teaching

This course has two teachers. Professor William Gummow is a former High Court Justice who wrote many of the judgments that will be studied in this course. Professor James Stellios is an active researcher in the field of federal jurisdiction and has published on topics studied during this course. He is also a practising barrister and has advised clients on conflicts issues and appeared in conflicts cases.

The essay option in this course provides students with an opportunity to undertake independent research into a topic covered in the course.

Davies, Bell and Brereton, Nygh's Conflict of Laws in Australia (9th ed, 2014)

Mortensen, Garnett, Keyes, Private international law in Australia (3rd ed, 2015)

Adrian Briggs, The Conflict of Laws (3rd ed, 2013)

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • detailed comments on assessment items.

Student Feedback

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.

Other Information

Extensions late submission and penalties - https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties

Deferred examination: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/deferred-examinations

Special consideration: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/special-assessment-consideration

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 Law School 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 or updates relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to basic conflict of laws questions and principles
2 Service out of jurisdiction, cross-vesting between States, and foreign state immunity
3 Stays and anti-suit injunctions
4 Choice of Law: tort, contract, fiduciary duties, substance/procedure
5 Choice of law and the federal system
6 Proof of foreign law, registration of foreign judgments and revision

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Online Quiz 0 % 18/03/2019 18/03/2019 1, 2
Mid-semester exam 50 % 26/04/2019 24/05/2019 1,4
Research Essay 50 % 06/06/2019 28/06/2019 1,3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


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:

Assessment Requirements

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.


The mid-semester exam will be held during the mid-semester exam period. Please note, that the dates used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date indicate the approximate timeframes. Students should consult the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 18/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 18/03/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Online Quiz

Details of the Task: Online quiz to be taken on Wattle. This assessment task is designed to give students an opportunity to receive feedback on their progress in the course.

Nature of Task: Optional online quiz to be taken on Wattle.

Weighting: 0 %

Release: Monday, 18 March at 10.00am. The quiz will end on Friday, 22 March at 5.00pm. The quiz will not be accessible after the closing time. No submissions after the due date are permitted.

Estimated return date: Result available immediately upon completion of quiz.


Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 26/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 24/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,4

Mid-semester exam

Details of Task: The course is designed to introduce students to the three main areas of conflict of laws: jurisdiction, choice of law and recognition of judgments of other law areas. The mid-semester exam will seek to test the practical application of the legal rules relevant to these three main areas covered during the course. Students will be required to demonstrate an understanding of the relevant legal rules and apply them to a factual scenario presented in the exam question. You will be expected to explain, summarise and apply the conflict rules to solve a complex hypothetical problem. All course material on these three areas from weeks 1-6 may be assessed in the exam.

Nature of Task: The mid-semester exam is compulsory and a failure to complete it will result in a 0 this assessment item. To pass the course overall, students must achieve a result of 45% or more for this task.

Release Date: The mid-semester exam will be held during the mid-semester exam period. Please note, that the dates used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date indicate the approximate timeframes. Students should consult the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Estimated return date: Depending on the number of students enrolled in the course, it is expected that the exam papers will be available by the end of week 10. Students can collect their exams from the Services Office.

Assessment Criteria: The following criteria will be applied when assessing the exam:

  • Students should identify the relevant issues from the factual scenario presented in the question.
  • Students should identify and accurately explain the applicable legal principles, providing relevant authority in support.
  • Students should accurately and concisely apply the legal principles to the factual situation, drawing by analogy from the cases considered in the course where relevant and appropriate.
  • Students should avoid irrelevant issues.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 06/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,3

Research Essay

Details of Task: The course is designed to introduce students to the complex rules of conflict of laws. The essay question will require students to explore and critically analyse a conflict of laws issue or issues. In responding to the essay question, students will be expected to recognise, explain and analyse themes or theoretical perspectives covered in this course and independently plan and conduct legal research. The question will focus on one or more conflicts areas covered in this course.

Nature of Task: The essay is compulsory and a failure to complete it will result in a zero grade for this assessment item. To pass the course overall, students must achieve a result of 45% or more for this task.

Weighting: 50%

Release Date: The essay question will be available on the Wattle course web-page at 10.00am, Tuesday, 16 April 2019.

Due Date: Essays will be due at 9.00am, Thursday, 6 June 2019. Essays must be submitted via Turnitin. Late submissions (without an extension) will be accepted, although late penalties will apply.

Word Limit: 2500 words

Estimated return date: On release of final results. Feedback will be provided via Turnitin.

Assessment Criteria: The following criteria will be applied when assessing the essay:

  • Students will be expected to critically reflect on course material relevant to the essay question.
  • Students will be expected to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills. Research should cover relevant and appropriate primary and secondary materials, be wide-ranging, and critically selected and used. There should be appropriate use of legal authority to support the arguments put forward.
  • Students will be expected to demonstrate clear communication skills in presenting arguments, ideas and analysis.
  • Students will be expected to organise arguments and ideas in a structured way and respond to the question asked. Arguments should be clearly expressed and well-reasoned.
  • Students must comply with the principles of academic honesty.
  • Students will be expected to use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation 4, and failure to do so may affect the awarded mark.

Academic Integrity

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.

Online Submission

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.

Hardcopy Submission

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

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. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

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.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

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).

Prof James Stellios
+61 2 6125 8140

Research Interests

Conflict of laws, constitutional law, federal judicial system

Prof James Stellios

Wednesday 11:00 13:00
William Gummow

Research Interests

William Gummow

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions