• Class Number 5578
  • Term Code 3040
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Nicholas Seddon
    • Nicholas Seddon
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 23/03/2020
  • Class End Date 11/05/2020
  • Census Date 03/04/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 23/03/2020
SELT Survey Results

This course is designed to meet the needs of practising lawyers and of senior public and private sector managers who have had experience in the field of government contracting.

The course will examine the use of contract for various public purposes and will analyse the legal issues that are peculiar to government contracting.

The course covers

  • policy issues relevant to the use of contract by government
  • the applicability of the ordinary law of contract
  • the power to make government contracts
  • the procedures and other issues relevant to contract formation
  • Crown immunity
  • the application of the competition consumer legislation to government commercial activity, tenders (including the impact of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement)
  • use of public law remedies.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain, distinguish and evaluate an advanced understanding of the legal and practical issues that are peculiar to government contracting and other government commercial activities;
  2. Identify, critically analyse and apply legal principles of ordinary contract law to contracting in a government context;
  3. Identify, critically examine and analyse complex government purchasing and commercial arrangements to identify and apply principles and provide solutions to manage complex matters, including risk; and
  4. Independently plan and execute a research project to demonstrate complex legal research principles and methodologies in critical analysis and application of legal principles and practice, relevant to government contacting.

Additional Course Costs

This course is an intensive course taught at the ANU Acton Campus in Canberra. Students will need to cover costs associated with travel, accommodation, meals etc, if attending from out of state.

Required Resources

The prescribed text for this course is Seddon, N, Government Contracts: Federal, State and Local, (6th ed 2018, The Federation Press). This book is available from Federation Press at a 20 per cent discount. Please contact Nick Seddon by email well before the first session to purchase a copy. This book is available in the Law Library.

In addition, a hard copy reading brick (issued course materials) will be available (no charge) from the ANU College of Law Student Administration office and it must be brought to class. It will be referred to constantly in the lectures. An electronic version of the reading brick will also be provided on the Wattle site if you cannot pick up your reading brick prior to the intensive.

The Lecture Outline with recommended reading is available on Wattle.

Nick Seddon’s lecture notes are available on Wattle.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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 Uses, power, procedures, authority
2 The Crown, immunities, privileges
3 Executive necessity, Competition and Consumer Act, tendering
4 Tenders (cont'd), administrative law

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Short answer quiz 10 % 06/04/2020 13/04/2020 1,2
Research Essay 90 % 11/05/2020 28/05/2020 1,2,3,4

* 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.


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 circums

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 06/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 13/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Short answer quiz

Format: Questions to be handed out at the end of the 4th Session on 26 March. The questions will also be available on Wattle.

Length: Students should provide short answers to each question – a few sentences or one or two paragraphs at most. Please do not provide lengthy ‘essay’ type answers.

Relationship between the Assessment Task and the Course Objectives: tests understanding of material covered in lectures.

Submission Date: 5pm, 6 April 2020 via the Wattle drop box with assessment cover sheet. 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 recorded.

Assessment Criteria: demonstrating an understanding of particular issues peculiar to government contracting that have been covered in lectures.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 90 %
Due Date: 11/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 28/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Research Essay

Format: Essay. Essays must be in 12-point font, double-spaced, formatted for A4-size paper, and with pages numbered. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records

Relationship between the Assessment Task and the Course Objectives: the essay will be a platform to demonstrate ability to research and analyse legal issues and policies relevant to government contracting.

Approval of Topic: students are encouraged to submit an essay on a topic of their own choice after the chosen area has been cleared with the lecturer by 17 April 2020. In addition, a list of suggested topic areas will be distributed by the lecturer.

Submission Date: 5pm, Monday 11 May 2020. Late submissions without an extension will incur a penalty in accordance with the ANU College of Law rules.  

Length: The total word length for the essay is 6500 words. Students are expected to analyse the essay topic in the word length stipulated. The marker will take into account the fact that an essay is either significantly shorter or longer than the stipulated word length, guided by the College of Law policy referred to below.

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 not just summarised or quoted extensively

b) Communication & Development of Argument

  • clear theme or argument
  • 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 covering primary and secondary materials
  • 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 of reader
  • 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 (http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/mulr/aglc)
  • adherence to word limit

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.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned on or before 28 May 2020.

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).

Nicholas Seddon

Research Interests

Dr Nick Seddon is recognised as a leading authority in contract law, specialising in government contracts. He advises Australian government agencies and the private sector in common law and commercial law matters, including major contracts, procurements, and application of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth). Nick also advises on the operation of legislation affecting government and private sector entities. Nick is the author of the leading text, Government Contracts: Federal, State and Local, (6th ed 2018), co-author of Cheshire & Fifoot Law of Contract (11th Aus ed 2017) and author of Seddon on Deeds (2015). Nick was an academic for thirty years in Melbourne, Papua New Guinea and at the Australian National University. He taught contracts, torts, property, industrial law and IT law. He joined Blake Dawson (now Ashurst) as a part-time consultant in 1995 and then as a full-time special counsel in 2001. He is currently counsel at Ashurst and an honorary professor at the ANU College of Law.

Nicholas Seddon

By Appointment
Nicholas Seddon
+61 2 6125 3483

Research Interests

Nicholas Seddon

By Appointment

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