• Offered by ANU College of Law
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Christopher Browne
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

'Universities serve to make students think: to resolve problems by argument supported by evidence; not to be dismayed by complexity, but bold in unravelling it'.  (What are universities for? by Geoffrey Boulton and Colin Lucas).   This course takes up this challenge by offering latter year students from any part of the ANU the opportunity to explore a series of complex issues. The connections between economic, historical, social, legal, scientific, engineering and environmental and moral dimensions of complex problems will be explored.    

The course will examine the behaviour of complex problems.  Case studies will include the collapse of empires, contemporary development, health and environmental issues, engineering and network failures and the moral and legal dimensions of all these issues.  

The course will encourage students to share their existing disciplinary perspectives to develop deep understandings of how to go about effective team based approaches to unravelling complex issues.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify and generalise archetypical behaviours in complex problems;
  2. Provide and situate legal perspectives and methodologies in an interdisciplinary team;
  3. Analyse and construct arguments from multiple perspectives, supported by evidence and with intellectual independence;
  4. Reflect critically on theory from the course by connecting personal experiences and/or real-world situations;
  5. Design, research and defend a learning portfolio unravelling a complex legal issue.

Other Information

This course requires an application, as positions are strictly limited. Please apply online at http://vc-courses.anu.edu.au/uc . Successful applicants will be provided with a permission code from the Law School.” As this is a later year, interdisciplinary course, students need to have a credit average in law.

Law students undertaking LAWS4001 must apply the course themes to a complex issue that has a strong legal basis in their Learning Portfolio.

Law students should also ensure that they are enrolled in LAWS4001 in ISIS for it to count as a law elective, as retrospective transfers are not possible.

Indicative Assessment

  1. - Peer-reviewed Individual Learning Portfolio that unravels a complex problem (50%) (50) [LO null]
  2. - Interdisciplinary Group Project that distills and navigates a complex issue (30%) (30) [LO null]
  3. - Tutorial Co-Facilitation during semester (20%) (20) [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. 

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.


Four hours contact a week, made up of a 2-hour seminar (highly recommended) and a 2-hour tutorial (compulsory). In addition, a 1-hour workshop (compulsory) is held the week before your tutorial co-facilitation. Approximately six hours independent learning a week is required to engage in the course content.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Bachelor of Laws (LLB, LLB(H)) or Juris Doctor (7330XJD, 7330HJD or MJD) and have completed 72 units of LAWS courses.

You will need to contact the ANU College of Law to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts

Please refer to WATTLE site


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.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4110
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9716 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 Online or In Person N/A

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