• Class Number 1671
  • Term Code 3020
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Ben Chen
    • William Gummow
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 08/02/2020
  • Class End Date 20/04/2020
  • Census Date 28/02/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 08/02/2020
SELT Survey Results

The course deals with the law which a court will apply to an action which contains some "foreign" element - ie, one or more of the facts of the case occurred outside the State or Territory which is hearing the matter.

It also deals with the basis upon which a court in Australia may take jurisdiction over a defendant not resident within the jurisdiction, and the circumstances in which judgments obtained overseas, or arbitral awards given overseas, may be enforced in Australia.

Selected topics include:

  • Choice of Law in Contract
  • Choice of Law in Tort
  • Jurisdiction in actions in contract, tort, for misleading conduct and estoppel
  • Refusal to exercise jurisdiction (forum non conveniens)
  • Enforcement of Foreign Judgments and arbitral awards.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify, distinguish and explain theoretical knowledge and general principles of the conflict of laws;
  2. Identify, synthesise and critically examine the theory and principles of choice of law in relation to contract and tort liability;
  3. Examine and critically apply to complex problems, the operation of various rules pertaining to territorial jurisdiction in relation to actions in tort, contract and related fields of law;
  4. Identify, evaluate and critically apply the principles by which judgments and arbitral awards given in countries outside Australia, may be enforced in Australia; and
  5. Plan, design and execute a research project that identifies, critically examines and communicates comparative analysis to complex theoretical issues and practical problems in matters where conflict of laws arise, demonstrating relevant research principles and techniques.

Research-Led Teaching

The content and approach of this course is informed by current research into the conflict of laws. You will have the opportunity to engage closely with, and contribute to, the current research through the major assessment item, in which you can explore a research question of particular interest to you. The minor item of assessment related to the research paper is a research plan, which requires you to develop your research project in a disciplined and methodical fashion.

Required Resources

Students are expected to read the cases, statutory provisions and secondary materials in the Reading List (to be published on Wattle).

Students should have at least one of the following texts:

  • Martin Davies, Andrew Bell, Paul Le Gay Brereton and Michael Douglas, Nygh’s Conflict of Laws in Australia (10th ed, LexisNexis Butterworths, 2019);
  • Reid Mortensen, Richard Garnett and Mary Keyes, Private International Law in Australia (4th ed, LexisNexis Butterworths, 2019).

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

Task submission times refer to Canberra time (AEST/AEDT).

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

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 any announcements relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction (co-taught with the Hon William Gummow AC), Jurisdictional competency
2 Stays and anti-suit injunctions, Choice of law I
3 Choice of law II, Choice of law III
4 Federal jurisdiction (taught by the Hon William Gummow AC), Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Participation 10 % 16/02/2020 23/02/2020 1,2,3,4
Research Plan 10 % 24/02/2020 06/03/2020 1,2,3,4,5
Research Paper 80 % 20/04/2020 07/05/2020 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 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.


For all courses taught face-to-face in intensive mode, the ANU College of Law considers participation in the classes offered to be an important part of the educational experience of the graduate program and students are required to attend ALL classes (and all of each class).

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be granted permission by the Course Convenor, in consultation with the Stream Convenor or Director, LLM Program, to miss some classes, provided:

a.      it does not exceed a maximum of 25% of the classes;

b.      permission is requested in advance; and

c.       the request is supported, where appropriate, by adequate documentation.

Failure to comply with this policy may result in a student receiving the grade of NCN (non-complete fail). The normal pressures of work or planned personal trips do not constitute exceptional circumstances to justify an exemption from full compliance of this policy.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 16/02/2020
Return of Assessment: 23/02/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


Nature of task: oral contributions to the seminars. Active participation in the discussions in seminars, demonstrating preparation and reflection on the course materials, is essential to developing a sophisticated understanding of the subject matter, particularly given the intensive nature of this course.

Assessment Criteria:

a)    Thinking critically about the material

  • Looking at questions from different angles
  • questioning assumptions
  • use of language

b)    Expressing ideas clearly

  • So that other students and the instructor can understand them
  • Use of relevant examples

c)    Engaging with other students in the discussion

  • Including encouraging others to speak
  • responding to what others have said
  • being respectful for a range of views and opinions

d)    If possible, linking material with your own background and knowledge

  • relating the material to your own personal and professional experience

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 24/02/2020
Return of Assessment: 06/03/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Research Plan

Nature of task: Written research plan. The research plan is intended to assist you in conceptualising your research paper and in taking a disciplined and methodical approach to its completion. The research plan must include:

  • The working title for your research paper;
  • A statement of the research question/s your paper will address;
  • An explanation of the significance and originality of your project;
  • A description of the research methods applied and to be applied in addressing the research question/s; and
  • As part of describing your progress to the time of submitting your research plan, your research plan must also contain a preliminary bibliography.

Topic: You may choose your own topic or you may also choose from the list of suggested topics published on Wattle.

Due: 24 February 2020 at 5pm AEDT. No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded. Accordingly, you are encouraged to seek an extension if you are unexpectedly unable to submit on time.

Length: up to 600 words + preliminary bibliography.

Assessment Criteria:

a) Presentation: Was the research plan clearly and concisely expressed, using appropriate terminology and correct grammar, syntax and spelling and did it adhere to the word limit?

b) Focus of project: Were the research questions clearly articulated?

c)  Significance of project: Was the originality of the project clearly explained by reference to the literature, and was a persuasive case made about the significance of the project?

d)  Appropriateness and feasibility of methods: Are the research methods suitable in terms of addressing the research questions, and feasible given the time and materials available?

e) Progress: Has appropriate progress been made on the project, as evidenced for example by the preliminary bibliography?

Assessment Task 3

Value: 80 %
Due Date: 20/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 07/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Research Paper

Nature of task: The research paper will demonstrate your achievement of the expected learning outcomes.

Approval of Topic: see above, under Research Plan.

Due: Monday 20 April 2020 at 5pm AEDT. Late submissions without an extension are permitted, although late penalties will apply.

Length: Maximum 6,000 words

Assessment Criteria:

a) Understanding of the Issues

  • addresses the question and covers all the important points
  • evidence of close consideration of the question and the research materials drawn on
  • issues raised by the topic are clearly and concisely identified
  • material chosen relates clearly to the topic and is analysed and applied, rather than simply summarised or quoted extensively

b) Communication & Development of Argument

  • clear argument which responds comprehensively to the question/s
  • arguments logical and well-organised
  • ideas/paragraphs linked coherently

c) Argument/Analysis

  • originality of ideas and critical analysis of the material
  • complexity and insight in dealing with theory/ideas
  • suggestions for change where appropriate
  • interdisciplinary perspective where appropriate
  • addressing opposing arguments
  • well-reasoned conclusions

d) Research

  • research which identifies relevant primary and secondary legal materials, other data, and literature from other relevant disciplines (if appropriate)
  • good organisation of sources and ability to synthesise all the research materials used
  • use of theoretical material where appropriate
  • range of research sources
  • integration of material from research resources into the essay

e) Presentation, style and referencing

  • good use of structure, section headings and paragraphs
  • clarity and conciseness of expression, interesting and engaging
  • use of appropriate terminology and correct grammar, syntax and spelling
  • full and accurate footnotes together with a bibliography
  • style according to Australian Guide to Legal Citation

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

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.

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

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded. OR 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).
Ben Chen

Research Interests

Ben is a lecturer at The University of Sydney Law School. He recently completed a JSD at Columbia University School of Law and a PhD in economics at the Australian National University. Conflict of laws is one of his areas of research and teaching.

Ben Chen

By Appointment
William Gummow

Research Interests

William Gummow

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