• Class Number 2279
  • Term Code 3130
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online or In Person
    • AsPr Judith Jones
    • AsPr Judith Jones
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/02/2021
  • Class End Date 28/05/2021
  • Census Date 31/03/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/03/2021
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 LAWS1203 Torts. Students commencing their legal studies in Semester Two are expected to undertake Foundations of Australian Law with LAWS1204 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 use our principal sources of law - case law and legislation. In addition to teaching students how to analyse case law and legislation and 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. discuss and explain the sources of law in Australia
  2. discuss the historical and social context of the institutions of the Australian legal system and the process of law-making
  3. formulate oral and written arguments in response to questions about the Australian legal system and the process of law-making
  4. identify and discuss legal principles obtained from reading and analysing selected case law (including case law from the relevant companion course - see note above)
  5. use methods of legal reasoning to apply relevant legal principles for the purpose of advising on legal problems
  6. identify, discuss and apply the principles of statutory interpretation
  7. engage in legal research using a variety of legal research sources, including legal databases, in order to research case law, legislation and scholarly journal articles
  8. use legal citation conventions appropriately in the course of legal writing
  9. reflect critically on case law, legislation and the Australian legal system
  10. use feedback to critically reflect on their own developing legal skills and understanding

Research-Led Teaching

Examination Material or equipment

Information on what to expect during an examination

Required Resources

Essential: Creyke et al, Laying Down the Law (LexisNexis Butterworths, 11th ed, 2020). You must purchase this text and it must be the 11th edition. Do not purchase an earlier edition second hand.

  • Students are strongly encouraged to also obtain a legal dictionary. One such dictionary is the: Concise Australian Legal Dictionary (Lexis Nexis Butterworths). Some booksellers (such as Harry Hartog - on campus) offer the Lexis Nexis Butterworths legal dictionary sold in a discounted bundle with the required text. While you must have the most recent edition of the textbook (see above), the same is not true for the legal dictionary. A second hand copy, or an earlier edition, of any legal dictionary is certainly adequate.
  • Students are strongly recommended to purchase a copy of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th edition) published by the Universitiy of Melbourne and available on Zookal for a modest price. A free online version is also available. However, the online version is not as convenient or as easy to use as a hard copy. (You need the 4th edition. Any earlier edition of AGLC is not suitable).

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments on individual work
  • 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 seminars; historical context and introduction to legal systems and sources of law. Students in this course must attend the main weekly teaching event which is one compulsory 2-hour seminar each week for 12 weeks of the semester. These seminars are not recorded.
2 Seminar: Case law as a source of law and legal reasoning
3 Seminar: Reading and analysing cases Take-home problem assignment end of week 3 (Task 1 of 5)
4 Seminar: Using legal rules and employing legal argument
5 Seminar: Judicial reasoning Research Skills Tutorial - case law
6 Seminar: Judicial reasoning and legal change; an introduction to legislation. Quiz to be completed during Mid-Semester Break (Task 2 of 5)
7 Seminar: The Constitution; the parliament as a source of law-making Research Skills Tutorial - legislation
8 Seminar: Key principles and approaches to statutory interpretation; interpretation in context Assignment at the end of week 8 (Task 3 of 5)
9 Seminar: context and purpose.
10 Seminar: Extrinsic materials and presumptions of statutory interpretation
11 Seminar: Statutory Interpretation - practice problem solving
12 Seminar: Problem solving continued, relevance and context
13 Final exam in examination period (Task 4 of 5)

Tutorial Registration

This course is taught in discussion based seminars (1 x 2 hours per week). Enrolment is via the Course Wattle page during the week before semester starts. Attendance and participation in these seminars is compulsory. Further detailed information about how to enrol for a seminar class will be available on the Course Wattle page (in this case the ANU Wattle site LAWS 1201 Foundations of Australian Law). Once enrolment is open then competition for popular times is intense so, to avoid disappointment, please read the information about the commencement of seminar enrolment carefully. There will be sufficient spaces in classes for all students to attend; just not necessarily at the preferred time. There are no additional lectures scheduled in the course; however there are podcasted recordings associated with (1) weekly preparation for seminars and (2) self-paced online modules. Please see the Wattle site for more details about these activities.

In addition to registering for seminars there are also 2 x 1 hour research skills tutorials to complete. Further registration details will be on the Wattle site around the time that semester commences.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Legal Reasoning: Take-Home Problem Assignment 20 % 15/03/2021 29/03/2021 3,4,5,8
Online Legal History Quiz 10 % 16/04/2021 * 1,2,3
Mid-Semester Assignment 20 % 03/05/2021 28/05/2021 1,2,3,9
Final Examination 50 % * 01/07/2021 4,5,6,10
Seminar participation 0 % * 01/07/2021 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 seminar preparation and compulsory seminar attendance requirements.


Students must consult the examinations timetable once it has been released, to confirm the due date and time for the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 15/03/2021
Return of Assessment: 29/03/2021
Learning Outcomes: 3,4,5,8

Legal Reasoning: Take-Home Problem Assignment

Details: Problem style legal reasoning task applying one case to a fact scenario, including citation using the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

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

Weighting: 20%

Release: 5 pm, Friday 12 March 2021 via Wattle.

Due date: 5 pm, Monday 15 March 2021 via Turnitin. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, but late penalties will apply. Extensions will not be permitted after 29 March 2021 (date that feedback is scheduled).

Word limit: 800 words

Estimated return date: 29 March 2021 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;
  • Identify and discuss the relevant rule as directed by task instructions;
  • Application of relevant law to issues; evaluation of arguments;
  • Conclusions
  • Written expression.
  • Use of AGLC

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 16/04/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Online Legal History Quiz

Details of Task: Students must answer 10 multiple choice questions to be completed within 15 minutes. The questions will focus on student knowledge and understanding of legal history arising from self-paced online modules related to chapters 1-4 from your textbook Laying Down the Law (as specified in more detail on Wattle). 

Nature of the task: Compulsory. Failure to participate will result in 0 marks for this task.

If you experience unavoidable and extenuating circumstances and cannot sit the quiz at the due date and time, you should apply for an extension to the College of Law student admin team here:


The College will give you one opportunity to sit the quiz, at the same time one week later. This will be your final opportunity to sit the quiz. 

Release: Monday 12 April 2021, 9am via WATTLE. Students will have 5 weekdays to sit this test, with a window of 15 minutes once the attempt has started.

Due: Friday 16 April 2021, 5pm via WATTLE. Submissions after the due date (without an extension) will not be accepted. Please note that attempts must be started with at least 15 minutes prior to the due date to receive full time for the quiz.

Weighting: 10%

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

Assessment Criteria: N/A

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 03/05/2021
Return of Assessment: 28/05/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,9

Mid-Semester Assignment

Details: Short responses about legal history and law-making institutions including legal issues relevant to Indigenous Australians. The task will cover relevant course materials from both seminars and the online modules from weeks 1 - 7 (inclusive) in the course, as specified in more detail on Wattle.

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

Weighting: 20%

Release: 5 pm, Friday 30 April 2021 via Wattle.

Due date: 5 pm, Monday 3 May 2021 via Turnitin. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, but late penalties will apply. Extensions will not be permitted after 5 June 2021 (date that feedback is scheduled).

Estimated return date: Friday 28 May 2021

Word limit: 800 words.

Assessment Criteria: Students will be assessed on their ability to explain, reflect on and respond to questions relating to aspects of English and Australian Legal History and foundational principles associated with the common law legal system and legal reasoning, including legal issues relating to Indigenous Australians, as covered in Foundations of Australian Law including–

  • Accuracy of information
  • Clarity of explanation
  • Response to the question(s) asked including argument as relevant
  • Conclusions
  • Written expression.
  • Adoption of legal citation conventions using AGLC.

This is not a research task.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Return of Assessment: 01/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 4,5,6,10

Final Examination

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

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

Release: TBC See Examination Timetable. The hypothetical statutory materials to be interpreted will be released 24 hours prior to the exam commencement.

Length: 2 hours.

Word limit: There is no word limit for this exam. The approximate word range for this task is 2,000 words. You are strongly advised not to exceed this range. Succinct legal reasoning that is to the point and does not include irrelevancies or long sections of cut and pasted text is more persuasive and will be rewarded. Marks will be reduced for answers that are unnecessarily long.

Weighting: 50%

Estimated return date: 1 July 2021

Assessment Criteria:

Analyse a legal problem involving interpretation of a statute and plan an answer;

Utilise the HIRAC structure flexibly to effectively communicate a written answer to a statutory interpretation problem by:

  • Identifying legal issues in the problem;
  • Accurately explaining principles of statutory interpretation relevant to the problem and referring to the specific source of those principles;
  • Applying relevant principles of law to facts contained in the problem question;
  • Concluding on the relevant legal issue(s); and
  • Write legibly and coherently and manage own time under examination conditions.
  • Informal reference to sources as acceptable under exam conditions (see Wattle for further guidance). In this course formall AGLC citation is not required under examination conditions.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 0 %
Return of Assessment: 01/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

Seminar participation

Seminars are the core activity in this course.

Details of task: Engaged participation in seminars is expected and will assist in the development of confident and effective oral communication skills. Effective oral communication is an important skill in itself, and indeed vital in many varied legal contexts. Participation in discussion is an integral part of adult learning and practice as it will enable students to develop effective oral communication skills.

Participation in seminar discussions is easier and of higher quality, if it is based on preparation of the week’s readings. The preparation instructions, and recorded podcasts guiding preparation, will be made available over Wattle every week. Preparation and the associated activities will not only ensure that students get the most out of seminars but will also be the best practice and preparation for assessment tasks.

The Foundations of Australian Law seminars provide a supported learning environment that equips students to cope, week-by-week, with the assessment tasks that students face in this course and other first-semester law courses. The group work undertaken in these seminars relies on students having completed the assigned preparation prior to class, where required, in order to ensure each individual gains the maximum benefit from the seminar experience. To facilitate this, 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. Failure to complete these requirements may result in a loss of up to 5% of the marks overall for the course.

Weighting including penalties:

  • Failure to attend 10 seminars and the two research skills tutorials without documented special circumstances will result in 5% being deducted from students overall mark for the course.

Due date: 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.

Estimated return date: 1 July 2021

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.

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).

AsPr Judith Jones
+61 2 6125 5459

Research Interests

AsPr Judith Jones

Wednesday 11:00 14:00

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