• Class Number 7879
  • Term Code 3060
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online or In Person
    • Dr Michelle Worthington
    • Dr Michelle Worthington
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 27/07/2020
  • Class End Date 30/10/2020
  • Census Date 31/08/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 03/08/2020
SELT Survey Results

This course must be taken in the commencing semester of a student's LLB or JD enrolment. Students commencing their legal studies in Semester One are expected to undertake Foundations of Australian Law with LAWS6103 Torts. Students commencing their legal studies in Semester Two are expected to undertake Foundations of Australian Law with LAWS6104 Contracts. This is because the content in the relevant companion course is utilised in various ways in Foundations of Australian Law.
Foundations of Australian Law is designed to lay the groundwork for the remainder of students' legal studies. In particular, the course aims to assist students to develop a range of legal skills that are crucial for successful legal studies and for professional practice. Students learn the essential skills that enable them to engage with and utilise our principal sources of law - case law and legislation. In addition to teaching students how to analyse case law and legislation in order to formulate legal arguments the course also covers the key legal principles of statutory interpretation and the role of the courts in interpreting statutes.
To set the context for these sources of Australian law, the course also seeks to familiarise students with (1) some of the fundamental features of the legal institutions that generate laws (the courts and the Parliament); (2) sources of Australian law in addition to case law and legislation (including the Australian Constitution, customary law and international law); and (3) the historical and social forces that have shaped and continue to shape the law-making process and the legal system.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. At the conclusion of this course it is expected that students will be able to:
  2. - discuss and explain the sources of law in Australia;
  3. - discuss the historical and social context of the institutions of the Australian legal system;
  4. - discuss the process of law-making;
  5. - formulate oral and written arguments in response to questions about the Australian legal system and the process of law-making;;
  6. - identify and discuss legal principles obtained from reading and analysing selected case law;
  7. - utilise methods of legal reasoning to apply relevant legal principles to a set of facts and generate legally defensible conclusions for the purpose of advising on legal problems;
  8. - identify, discuss and apply the principles of statutory interpretation;
  9. - engage in legal research utilising a variety of legal research sources, including legal databases, in order to research case law, legislation and scholarly journal articles;
  10. - use legal citation conventions appropriately in the course of legal writing;
  11. - reflect critically on case law, legislation and the Australian legal system; and
  12. - utilise feedback to critically reflect on their own developing legal skills and understanding.

Research-Led Teaching

Field Trips

No formal field trip, however, a self-organised court visit may be required (COVID 19 court access permitting)

Required Resources

Catriona Cook et al, Laying Down the Law (LexisNexis Butterworths, 10th ed, 2018). Do not purchase an earlier edition

Perry Herzfeld and Thomas Prince, Statutory Interpretation Principles. Please note that this text is available electronically via the ANU Library

Students are strongly encouraged to obtain a legal dictionary. One such dictionary is the: Concise Australian Legal Dictionary (Lexis Nexis Butterworths)

Students are strongly recommended to purchase a copy of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th ed). A free online version is available.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments on individual work; and
  • feedback to the whole class.

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 Seminar: Introduction to case law and self-paced module
2 Seminar: Case law and legal reasoning (HIRAC) and self-paced module
3 Seminar: Case law and legal reasoning (HIRAC) and self-paced module
4 Seminar: Precedent and judicial decision making and self-paced module
5 Seminar: Precedent and judicial decision making and self-paced module Research Skills Tutorial - case law
6 Seminar: Judicial reasoning
7 Seminar: Introduction to statutory interpretation
8 Seminar: Statutory interpretation Research Skills Tutorial - legislation
9 Seminar: Statutory interpretation
10 Seminar: Statutory interpretation
11 Seminar: Statutory interpretation
12 Seminar: Exam Preparation

Tutorial Registration

Enrolment is via the Course Wattle page.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Take-Home Problem Assignment - Case law 25 % 24/08/2020 04/09/2020 1,4,5,8,9
Court Report 5 % * 30/10/2020 1,2,3,9,10
Online Quiz 20 % 22/09/2020 02/10/2020 1,3,9
Final Take-Home Exam - Statutory Interpretation 50 % * 03/12/2020 1,4,5,6,8,9,10
Seminar Attendance and Participation 0 % * 30/10/2020 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

* 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.


This class involves a combination of lecture style delivery and interactive seminar attendance requirements. Students in this course must attend the weekly interactive teaching event which is one compulsory seminar of up to 2 hours each week for 12 weeks of the semester.


The final assessment is a take-home examination. Please note that the date of the exam in the assessment summary is indicative only. Students should check the examinations timetable when it becomes available to confirm the exact date and time of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 24/08/2020
Return of Assessment: 04/09/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,4,5,8,9

Take-Home Problem Assignment - Case law

Details: Problem style legal reasoning task applying one case to a fact scenario (including citation).

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit the task will result in a mark of 0.

Weighting: 25%

Release: 12 noon, Thursday 20 August 2020 on Wattle.

Due date: 5 pm, Monday 24 August 2020 via Turnitin. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, although late penalties will apply. Submissions (with or without an extension) are not permitted after the return date of the task (34 September).

Word limit: 1,800 words

Estimated return date: 4 September 2020 via Turnitin.

Assessment Criteria: Students will be assessed on their ability to use the skills and methodologies of HIRAC based legal reasoning taught in Foundations of Australian Law –

  • Headings; clear and appropriate structure;
  • Identification of legal issues;
  • Identification of relevant law as directed by task instructions;
  • Application of relevant law to the legal issues;
  • Conclusions; 
  • Quality of written expression; and 
  • Commitment to academic integrity.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 5 %
Return of Assessment: 30/10/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,9,10

Court Report

Details of Task: Each student is to attend court proceedings (either online or in person) and then provide a brief report to the class reflecting on that experience. In week 1, students may choose a week in weeks 2-12 in which to give their presentation.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to submit the task will result in a mark of 0.

Due date: Ongoing. Due to the nature of the task, late submissions are not permitted.

Time limit: 5 mins

Weighting: 5%

Estimated return date: Week 12 via Wattle.

Assessment Criteria:

  • Formulation of oral report on court visit;
  • Awareness and effective use of time for oral presentation;
  • Structure, including logical development of content/material;
  • Engagement with audience in terms of tone, eye contact, pace and delivery; and
  • Responses to questions (if applicable).

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 22/09/2020
Return of Assessment: 02/10/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,9

Online Quiz

Details of Task: The online quiz will test students' learning from the 'self-paced' online learning module, as well as the prescribed readings and seminar discussions from weeks 1-6 of the Course. The Quiz will take the form of an online, multiple choice assessment.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit this task will result in a mark of 0.

Release: 6pm Tuesday 22 September 2020 on Wattle.

Due date: 8pm Tuesday 22 September 2020 via Turnitin. Because this is a Quiz, late submission is not permitted. Students will need to complete the Quiz within the 2 hour timeframe. If you are ill or suffer misadventure which would justify an extension, you should complete an application for an extension. You will have one more opportunity to complete the quiz at the same time the following week. This will be your last opportunity to complete the quiz.

Duration: 120 minutes

Weighting: 20%

Estimated return date: Once all students have completed the quiz.

Assessment Criteria: Students will be assessed on the following criteria:

  • Comprehension of class materials;
  • Comprehension of questions asked;
  • Accuracy of response to the questions asked;
  • Conclusions.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Return of Assessment: 03/12/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,4,5,6,8,9,10

Final Take-Home Exam - Statutory Interpretation

Details of Task: Students will be assessed on their ability to construct and present a legal argument in response to a legal problem while correctly applying the principles of statutory interpretation in their answer to the given question.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit the task will result in a mark of 0.

Release: During the Semester 2 exam period via Wattle. Students should consult the ANU examinations timetable once it has been released for the date and time of the exam. The exam will be held at the same time as LAWS1201.

Duration: 180 minutes

Due date: During the Semester 2 exam period via Turnitin. Late submission of take-home examinations is not permitted.

Word limit: No word limit

Weighting: 50%

Estimated return date: After final results are released via Turnitin.

Assessment Criteria: Students will be assessed on their ability to:

  • Headings; clear and appropriate structure;
  • Identification of legal issues;
  • Identification of relevant law as directed by task instructions;
  • Application of relevant law to the legal issues;
  • Conclusions; 
  • Quality of written expression; and
  • Commitment to academic integrity.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 0 %
Return of Assessment: 30/10/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

Seminar Attendance and Participation

Details of task: Engaged participation in seminars is expected and will assist in the development of foundational legal skills (analysis, communication, focus, etc). Students are to prepare for the seminars by doing the allocated reading. The allocated readings will be made available via Wattle each week. One component of the seminars that needs specific planning and preparation is a brief verbal/oral report on a Court Visit (as noted above). Further information about this will be available on the Wattle sites and the visit/report will be further explained in the classes scheduled early in the semesters. There is a minimum attendance requirement for the seminars. A roll will be taken at the beginning of each class. Students are responsible to ensure that their attendance is recorded.

Students must:

  • Attend 10 of the 12 seminars between weeks 1 – 12; and
  • Attend both research skills tutorials; 

Nature of task: Compulsory and non-redeemable.. Failure to complete these requirements may result in a loss of up to 5% of the marks overall for the course.

Due: Ongoing. If students are unable to attend their seminar due to illness or special circumstances they should advise the Seminar Leader and retain evidence of the reasons for the absence. If students miss more than two seminars, the should then provide this evidence to the Convenor, as soon as is practicable.

Value or weighting: Failure to attend 10 seminars, the two research skills tutorials and/or any masterclasses without documented special circumstances will result in 5% being deducted from students overall mark for 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 is permitted: Default College late penalties will be applied. Please see the CoL website for more information on these policies. Students are responsible for making sure they are familiar with all submission policies in relation to assessment.

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).

Dr Michelle Worthington
02 6125 1071

Research Interests

Corporations Law; Legal Theory; Legal Design; Law Reform

Dr Michelle Worthington

By Appointment
Dr Michelle Worthington
+61 2 6125 1071

Research Interests

Dr Michelle Worthington

By Appointment

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