Building on Australian Public Law, this course aims to deepen student understanding of key aspects of the Australian administrative justice system. Administrative law concerns the legal rules and institutions which seek to keep the ‘governors’ in society (principally, decision-makers in the executive arm of government) accountable. It encompasses both judicial and non-judicial modes of accountability (eg administrative tribunals, the ombudsman, and legislation providing for access to information and limiting the purposes for which government can use information). Administrative law can be conceptualised as the legal regulation of the exercise of public (as opposed to ‘private’) power. More specifically, this course will consider:
• Different ways to think about the reach of administrative law in the context of the changing nature of contemporary governance;
• The function and scope of judicial review of administrative action, with particular attention to the constitutional, statutory and common law sources of judicial review jurisdiction.
• Many of the important legal principles associated with the availability of judicial review remedies, the grounds on which administrative decisions may be judicially reviewed, and ‘standing’ to bring judicial review actions;
• Statutory attempts by Parliaments to restrict judicial review and the extent to which judicial review is constitutionally entrenched;
• The concept of merit review, with particular attention to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal;
• The role played by non-adjudicative accountability mechanism with particular attention to the operation of public sector Ombudsman and Freedom of Information legislation;
• The role played by administrative law in the context of important constitutional principles such as the separation of powers and the rule of law;
• The historical and social context in which Australian administrative law has developed.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Explain, apply and appraise the principles of judicial review of administrative action at both the State and Federal levels of government in Australia;
- Explain, apply and appraise the limits on the powers of the courts to engage in judicial review of administrative action, and the constitutional protection of such review;
- Distinguish between the different categories of adjudicative review (legality and merit review) and between adjudicative and non-adjudicative accountability mechanisms;
- Explain and appraise the interaction between the various institutions of administrative law and the role played by each in the administrative justice system;
- Recognise and explain the relevance of the Constitution and constitutional concepts to the development of distinctive Australian administrative law institutions and principles;
- Reflect critically on judicial reasoning in administrative law cases, the values underpinning administrative law, and the impact of the law on administrative decision-making;
- Apply administrative law principles to resolve practical problems, reasoning to a conclusion by analogy to decided cases recognising the way in which statutory context influences the application of these principles.
- A report from attending an AAT or ACAT hearing (30) [LO null]
- Seminar participation (10) [LO null]
- Essay based on class materials and discussions (60) [LO null]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week (a minimum of 36 hours). Students are generally expected to devote at least 10 hours overall per week to this course.
Requisite and Incompatibility
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.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.