• Class Number 2485
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Leighton McDonald
    • Daniel Stewart
    • Selena Bateman
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
SELT Survey Results

Administrative Law examines the legal framework for controlling decision-making by Commonwealth, State and local government decision-makers in Australia. It focuses on the legal restraints upon government, and the role those restraints play in maintaining government accountability. The role played by courts, tribunals and Ombudsman and the opportunities available to the public to question government activity is examined. The course covers the core administrative law material required for admission purposes and for work in the area of law and government. The following topics will be covered:

  • what accountability means in the context of the administrative state';

  • changing patterns of 'governance' in contemporary Australia;

  • the historical and constitutional context of Australian administrative law;

  • the administrative law framework for review of government decision-making;

  • concepts and principles of merits and judicial review;

  • jurisdiction and remedies available from courts and tribunals, and the principles of standing;

  • other administrative law avenues including information access rights and ombudsmen; and

  • the impact of human rights legislation on Australian administrative law.


Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify, explain and apply the principles of administrative law covered in the course;
  2. Identify and analyse some of the current controversies and trends in the area of administrative law
  3. Access, use, interpret and apply complex statutory material to solve administrative law problems;
  4. Select and apply a range of approaches to written and oral communication, and apply the critical thinking required to bring about solutions to complex administrative law problems;
  5. Analyse and predict how unresolved or ambiguous administrative law questions could be resolved by the courts through an analysis of case law and the judicial method.

Research-Led Teaching

The seminars will be taught by teachers who are leading researchers in the administrative law (see above ‘Contact Information’). The course will include consideration of current research and contemporary issues.

Leighton McDonald's textbook and articles are widely cited in the administrative law literature. He is legal adviser to the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills, Parliament of Australia, and was Associate to the Hon Justice Mary Gaudron. (See https://law.anu.edu.au/people/leighton-mcdonald).

Daniel Stewart has published widely on a range of administrative law topics, including important recent publications on freedom of information law. Daniel also acts as the Independent Research Monitor for Australia for the International Open Government Partnership, and is the legal adviser to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety (Legislative Scrutiny Role) of the ACT Parliament. He also has extensive experience as a consultant for HWL Ebsworth solicitors on matters involving administrative law and has served as an Associate in the Federal Court of Australia. See (https://law.anu.edu.au/people/daniel-stewart)

Selena Bateman's article “Constitutional Dimensions of State Executive Power: An Analysis of the Power to Contract and Spend” (published in the Public Law Review) was awarded the prestigious Saunders Prize for excellence in constitutional law scholarship in 2016. Selena is one of the leading public law practitioners of her generation. Most recently, she has served as Counsel Assisting the Commonwealth Solicitor General, a role which has involved multiple appearances in the High Court of Australia and the Federal Court of Australia (including in administrative law matters). Selena was also Associate to the Hon Justice Robertson in the Federal Court of Australia.

Required Resources

Students will require a textbook and the associated ‘cases’ book. The books can be purchased as a 'pack'.

Text: Peter Cane, Leighton McDonald, and Kristen Rundle, Principles of Administrative Law (3rd ed, Oxford University Press, 2018)

Cases: Peter Cane, Leighton McDonald, and Kristen Rundle, Cases for Principles of Administrative Law (3rd ed , Oxford University Press, 2018)

Staff Feedback

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

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 Introduction to the Australian Administrative Law System Introduction to Judicial Review
2 The Scope of Judicial Review under Statutory Sources of Jurisdiction Supervisory jurisdiction of State Supreme Courts Review of delegated legislation
3 Judicial Review Remedies and the centrality of jurisdictional error What are jurisdictional errors?
4 Remedies: the nuts and bolts The consequences of invalidity Introduction to Grounds of review Procedural Fairness hearing rule
5 Procedural Fairness Hearing Rule (continued) Rule against bias; statutory procedures
6 Relevant and irrelevant considerations Unauthorised purposes
7 The role of policy in decision-making; dictation; delegation Fact/Law distinction; Jurisdictional facts
8 Legal reasonableness and human rights norms Standing
9 Statutory restrictions on judicial review
10 Merits review and tribunals
11 Internal review and Ombudsmen Freedom of Information legislation
12 Exam revision

Tutorial Registration

This course will be taught in seminars with 3 seminar groups. Students MUST enrol in and attend a single seminar group.

Enrolment for seminars will begin prior to the commencement of semester at 7 am on Tuesday 18 February 2020. Enrolment will be conducted through the course WATTLE page. All students must enrol in a seminar group. Students may only attend the seminar group if enrolled in that seminar group. It is very important that you enrol early to secure your preferred seminar group if you have limited flexibility in your schedule.

See university timetable for times and locations of the seminar groups: http://timetable.anu.edu.au/

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Online Quiz 0 % 25/04/2020 25/04/2020 1,2
Mid-Semester Take-home assignment 30 % 15/04/2020 15/05/2020 1,2,4,5
Final Online Exam 70 % * 09/07/2020 1,2,3,4,5

* 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. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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 the dates used in the Assessment Summary in relation to take home exams and final exams indicate 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: 25/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 25/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Online Quiz

Details of Task: There will be 15 multiple choice questions covering all course material up to the date the quiz goes online.

Nature of Task: This task is optional. No marks are allocated for this quiz but it provides a useful way for students to gauge their understanding of the course material.

Value or weighting: 0%

Release: Friday 3 April 2020 by 5pm (on WATTLE).

Due date: Any time before 5pm on Saturday 25 April 2020 (the end of week 6). The quiz will not be available after this date.

Estimated return date: You will receive feedback on your answers as soon as you have completed the quiz on WATTLE.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 15/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 15/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

Mid-Semester Take-home assignment

Details of Task: The mid-semester take-home assignment is designed to develop your capacity to engage carefully and critically with the cases and issues covered in the first half of the course. You will need to answer two questions with answers of 500 words per question, from a set of 4 questions. This will assist you in fulfilling the learning outcomes, with an emphasis on expected learning outcomes 1, 2, 4 and 5. The assessment task will also prepare students for ‘reflective/argumentative questions’ which will be included in the final examination (see below for further information). Well prepared students should expect to be able to complete the exam in 2-3 hours.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Non-submission will result in ‘0’ marks being awarded for this assessment item.

Value or weighting: 30%.

Release:  9 am on Tuesday, 14 April 2020 (on WATTLE).

Due date: 5 pm on Wednesday, 15 April 2020 via Turnitin. Late submissions will not be accepted. For this reason it would be extremely risky to leave uploading your assignment until the last minute.

Word limit: 1000 words.

Estimated return date: Friday 15 May 2020 via Turnitin.

Assessment Criteria:

make appropriate and accurate use of the reading materials covered in the class plan;

structuring responses well and ensuring they are clearly and concisely expressed; 

addressing the relevant issues raised in the questions and making persuasive arguments; and 

demonstrating understanding of, and critical thinking on, material covered in the Class Plan and the discussion in class during weeks 1-6 of the course. 

Assessment Task 3

Value: 70 %
Return of Assessment: 09/07/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Final Online Exam

Details of task: The final exam is designed not only to test knowledge of administrative law’s rules and principles but also to enable students to demonstrate how these rules and principles may be applied to legal problems. The problem question (worth 60% of the total marks available for the exam) will require students to demonstrate sound skills of legal interpretation and reasoning. The exam will also contain two ‘reflective/argumentative questions’ (worth 40% of the total marks available). These questions will be designed to test for deep understanding, for example, by asking: how particular concepts or ideas studied in the course relate one to another, for an explanation or evaluation of conclusions reached in particular cases, or for an explanation or illustration of the importance of a particular concept/principle/case. The focus will not be on the reproduction of information.

Nature of task: Compulsory. Non-attendance will result in a ‘0’ for this assessment task. 

Timing: Students should consult the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date and time of the exam.

Duration: 2.5 hours

Value or weighting: 70%

Estimated Return Date: After final grades are released

Assessment Criteria: 

make relevant and persuasive arguments; 

make accurate use of relevant legal material; 

are well structured and clearly and concisely expressed; 

address the issues raised in the problem questions and reason persuasively by reference to relevant legal rules and principles; and 

demonstrate understanding of, and critical thinking on, material covered in the course. 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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. Extensions may be granted 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 Leighton McDonald

Research Interests

Administrative law, public law, legal theory

Prof Leighton McDonald

Daniel Stewart

Research Interests

Daniel Stewart

Selena Bateman
+61 2 6125 3483

Research Interests

Selena Bateman

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