• Class Number 3371
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Judith Jones
    • AsPr Judith Jones
  • 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

This course must be taken in the commencing semester of a student's LLB or JD enrolment. Students commencing their legal studies in Semester One are expected to undertake Foundations of Australian Law with LAWS6103 Torts. Students commencing their legal studies in Semester Two are expected to undertake Foundations of Australian Law with LAWS6104 Contracts. This is because the content in the relevant companion course is utilised in various ways in Foundations of Australian Law.
Foundations of Australian Law is designed to lay the groundwork for the remainder of students' legal studies. In particular, the course aims to assist students to develop a range of legal skills that are crucial for successful legal studies and for professional practice. Students learn the essential skills that enable them to engage with and utilise our principal sources of law - case law and legislation. In addition to teaching students how to analyse case law and legislation in order to formulate legal arguments the course also covers the key legal principles of statutory interpretation and the role of the courts in interpreting statutes.
To set the context for these sources of Australian law, the course also seeks to familiarise students with (1) some of the fundamental features of the legal institutions that generate laws (the courts and the Parliament); (2) sources of Australian law in addition to case law and legislation (including the Australian Constitution, customary law and international law); and (3) the historical and social forces that have shaped and continue to shape the law-making process and the legal system.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. At the conclusion of this course it is expected that students will be able to:
  2. - discuss and explain the sources of law in Australia;
  3. - discuss the historical and social context of the institutions of the Australian legal system;
  4. - discuss the process of law-making;
  5. - formulate oral and written arguments in response to questions about the Australian legal system and the process of law-making;;
  6. - identify and discuss legal principles obtained from reading and analysing selected case law;
  7. - utilise methods of legal reasoning to apply relevant legal principles to a set of facts and generate legally defensible conclusions for the purpose of advising on legal problems;
  8. - identify, discuss and apply the principles of statutory interpretation;
  9. - engage in legal research utilising a variety of legal research sources, including legal databases, in order to research case law, legislation and scholarly journal articles;
  10. - use legal citation conventions appropriately in the course of legal writing;
  11. - reflect critically on case law, legislation and the Australian legal system; and
  12. - utilise feedback to critically reflect on their own developing legal skills and understanding.

Research-Led Teaching

Field Trips

No formal field trip, however, a self-organised court visit is required.

Required Resources

Catriona Cook et al, Laying Down the Law (LexisNexis Butterworths, 10th ed, 2017). Do not purchase an earlier edition

Students are strongly encouraged to obtain a legal dictionary. One such dictionary is the: Concise Australian Legal Dictionary (Lexis Nexis Butterworths)

Students are strongly recommended to purchase a copy of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation. A free online version is available.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments on individual work
  • feedback to the whole class.

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 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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Seminar: Introduction to seminars and to sources of law
2 Seminar: Case law and legal reasoning
3 Seminar: Reading and analysing cases Take-home problem Assignment
4 Seminar: Using legal rules and employing legal argument
5 Seminar: Judicial reasoning and legal change Research Skills Tutorial - case law
6 Seminar: Judicial reasoning and legal change continued and an introduction to legislation and statutory interpretation
7 Seminar: Key principles and approaches to statutory interpretation Research Skills Tutorial - legislation Assignment
8 Seminar: Interpretation in context
9 Seminar: Extrinsic materials and presumptions of statutory interpretation
10 Seminar: Statutory Interpretation - problem solving
11 Seminar: Statutory Interpretation - problem solving
12 Seminar: Relevance and context Take-home Examination

Tutorial Registration

Enrolment is via the Course Wattle page during the week before semester starts. Further detailed information about how to enrol for a seminar class will be available on the Course Wattle page (in this case the ANU Wattle site LAWS 6101 Foundations of Australian Law).

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Legal Reasoning: Take-Home Problem Assignment 25 % 18/03/2019 05/04/2019 3, 4, 5, 8
Legal Institutions Assignment 35 % 26/04/2019 24/05/2019 1, 2 ,3, 9
Final Take-Home Examination 40 % 30/05/2019 04/07/2019 4, 5, 6, 10
Seminar preparation and compulsory seminar attendance 0 % 31/05/2019 04/07/2019 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

* 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.


This class involves seminar preparation and compulsory seminar attendance requirements.


The final assessment is a take-home examination. Please note that the date of the exam in the assessment summary is indicative only. Students should check the examinations timetable when it becomes available to confirm the exact date and time of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 18/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 05/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4, 5, 8

Legal Reasoning: Take-Home Problem Assignment

Details: Problem style legal reasoning task applying one case to a fact scenario including citation.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to submit the task will result in a 0 for this task.

Weighting: 25%

Release: 12 noon, Friday 15 March 2019 on Wattle via Turnitn.

Due date: 12 noon, Monday 18 March 2019. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, but late penalties will apply. No extensions will be permitted after 1 April 2019.

Word limit: 1,200 words

Estimated return date: 1 April 2019 via Turnitin.

Assessment Criteria: Students will be assessed on their ability to use the skills and methodologies of HIRAC based legal reasoning taught in Foundations of Australian Law –

  • Headings; clear and appropriate structure;
  • Identification of legal issues;
  • Identify and discuss the relevant rule as directed by task instructions;
  • Application of relevant law to issues; evaluation of arguments;
  • Conclusions
  • Written expression.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 26/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 24/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2 ,3, 9

Legal Institutions Assignment

Details of Task: This task will test students understanding of the history and development of important features of Australian law-making institutions (the courts and

the parliament). Students will be asked to respond to an essay question or questions from a choice of at least 2. However, there will be limited choice and the question(s) will be designed to ensure that students engage with all the relevant topics and course materials.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to submit the task will result in a 0 for this task.

Release: Noon Friday 26 April 2019 on Wattle.

Due date: Noon Monday 29 April 2019 via Turnitin. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, but late penalties will apply.

Word limit: 1,800 words

Weighting: 35%

Estimated return date: Week 11 via Turnitin.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Introduction outlining approach to the topic and response to the question.
  • Demonstration of engagement with relevant material from course readings.
  • Analysis, argument and use of evidence from course readings to support the response to the question.
  • Clear conclusion responding to the question.
  • Referencing and compliance with AGLC.
  • Effective use of words and word limit to address key issues; expression and communication.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 30/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 4, 5, 6, 10

Final Take-Home Examination

Details of Task: Broadly, students will be assessed on their ability to construct and present a legal argument in response to a legal problem while correctly applying the principles of statutory interpretation in their answer to the given question.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to submit the task will result in a 0 for this task.

Duration: 3 hours

Release: 6 pm Thursday 30 May 2019 on Wattle.

Due date: 9 pm Thursday 30 May 2019 via Turnitin. Late submission of take-home examinations is not permitted. If circumstances exist that are beyond a student’s

control and could not have been reasonably anticipated or avoided or guarded a student may be eligible for further examination in accordance with the University Policy. See policy on Deferred Assessment below.

Word limit: 2,000 words

Weighting: 40%

Estimated return date: After final results are released via Turnitin.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Analyse a legal problem involving interpretation of a statute and plan an answer;
  • Utilise the HIRAC structure flexibly to effectively communicate a written answer to a statutory interpretation problem by:
  • Identifying legal issues in the problem;
  • Accurately explaining principles of statutory interpretation relevant to the problem and referring to the specific source of those principles;
  • Applying relevant principles of law to facts contained in the problem question;
  • Concluding on the relevant legal issue(s); and
  • Write legibly and coherently.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 31/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Seminar preparation and compulsory seminar attendance

Details of task:

The Foundations of Australian Law seminars provide a supported learning environment that equips students to cope, week-by-week, with the assessment tasks that students face in this course and other first-semester law courses. The group work undertaken in these seminars relies on students having completed the assigned preparation prior to class, where required, in order to ensure each individual gains the maximum benefit from the seminar experience. To facilitate this, there is a minimum attendance requirement for the seminars. A roll will be taken at the beginning of each class. Students are responsible to ensure that their attendance is recorded.

Engaged participation in seminars is expected and will assist in the development of confident and effective oral communication skills. Effective oral communication is an important skill in itself, and indeed vital in many varied legal contexts. Participation in discussion is an integral part of adult learning and practice as it will enable students to develop effective oral communication skills. Participation in seminar discussions is easier and of higher quality, if it is based on preparation of the week’s readings. The preparation instructions will be made available over Wattle every week. Preparation and the associated activities will not only ensure that students get the most out of seminars but will also be the best practice and preparation for assessment tasks. One component of the seminars that needs specific planning and preparation is a brief verbal/oral report on a Court Visit. Further information about this will be available on the Wattle sites and the visit/report will be further explained in the classes scheduled early in the semesters.

Students must:

  • Attend 10 of the 12 seminars between weeks 1 – 12; and
  • Attend both research skills tutorials; and
  • Complete the oral court report as an integral part of their participation.

Nature of task: Compulsory. Failure to complete these requirements may result in a loss of up to 10% of the marks overall for the course.

Due date: Ongoing. If students are unable to attend their seminar due to illness or special circumstances they should advise the Seminar Leader and retain evidence of the reasons for the absence. If students miss more than two seminars, the should then provide this evidence to the Convenor, as soon as is practicable.

Weighting including penalties:

  • Failure to attend 10 seminars and the two research skills tutorials without documented special circumstances will result in 5% being deducted from students overall mark for the course.
  • Failure to complete the court visit and oral report will result in 5% being deducted from students overall mark for the course.
  • Failure to complete both the attendance requirements and the court report will result in a 10% deduction.

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

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. 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).

AsPr Judith Jones
+61 2 6125 5459

Research Interests

AsPr Judith Jones

Monday 09:00 12:00
AsPr Judith Jones
+61 2 6125 5459

Research Interests

AsPr Judith Jones

Monday 09:00 12:00

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