• Class Number 5269
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Michelle Worthington
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
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

Required Resources

Robin Creyke et al, Laying Down the Law (Lexisnexis, 11th ed, 2021). Do not purchase an earlier edition.

Perry Herzfeld and Thomas Prince, Statutory Interpretation Principles (Thomson Reuters, 2nd ed, 2020). Do not purchase an earlier edition

  • 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/or
  • 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 and self-paced module
3 Seminar: Case law and legal reasoning 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 legislation and statutory interpretation Research Skills Tutorial - Legislation
8 Seminar: Interpretation in context
9 Seminar: Statutory interpretation
10 Seminar: Statutory Interpretation
11 Seminar: Statutory Interpretation
12 Seminar: Exam Preparation

Tutorial Registration

Enrollment is via the Course Wattle page.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Take-Home Assignment - Case Law 30 % 23/08/2021 03/09/2021 1,4,5,8,9
Online Quiz 20 % 21/09/2021 * 1,3,9
Final Examination - Statutory Interpretation 50 % * * 1,4,5,6,8,9,10
Seminar Attendance and Participation 0 % * 29/10/2021 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 Academic Integrity . 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 in any mode (whether face to face or online), the ANU College of Law considers participation in the classes offered to be an important part of the educational experience of the program. Students are expected to attend all classes.

This course 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. There are additional masterclass and skills sessions students are to attend throughout semester as well (as described above).


The examination will be released via Wattle. Students should consult the ANU examination timetable once finalised to confirm the date, duration and time of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 23/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 03/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,4,5,8,9

Take-Home Assignment - Case Law

Brief 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: 30%

Release: 12pm, Thursday 19 August 2021 on Wattle.

Due date: 5pm, Monday 23 August 2021 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.

Word limit: 1,500 words

Estimated return date: 3 September 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;
  • 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: 20 %
Due Date: 21/09/2021
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: 12pm Monday 20 September 2021 on Wattle.

Due date: 12pm Tuesday 21 September 2021 on Wattle. Because this is a Quiz, late submission is not permitted. Once a student starts the quiz, they will have a 2 hours time frame to complete the quiz. If you are ill or suffer misadventure which would justify an extension, you should complete an application for an extension . If you are granted an extension you will have an 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 3

Value: 50 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,4,5,6,8,9,10

Final Examination - Statutory Interpretation

Details of Task: Problem question HIRAC style exam, focusing on statutory interpretation.  

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Students must obtain 45% or better on the final examination in order to pass the course. Students who do not obtain 45% on the final examination but whose overall mark for the course is at least 45% will be granted a supplementary exam. If such a student passes the supplementary exam, their final mark for the course will be 50 PS. If such a student fails the supplementary exam, that student's final mark for the course will be the mark obtained in the final examination.

Timing: The examination will be released via Wattle. Students should consult the ANU examination timetable once finalised to confirm the date, duration and time of the exam.

Duration: 120 minutes

Word limit: No word limit

Weighting: 50%

Estimated return date: Official end of semester results release date via Turnitin. 

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

  • 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 4

Value: 0 %
Return of Assessment: 29/10/2021
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 and listening to any recorded lecture material. The allocated readings will be made available via Wattle each week. 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; and
  • Attend any masterclasses organised during the semester.

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.

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.

Estimated return date: 29 October 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 test or examinations.
  • Late submission with an extension. To ensure equity for all students, the 5% penalty per working day for late submission of work does not apply if you have been given an extension. Where an extension is granted, the revised due date and submission time is provided in writing. Please note that the revised due date is calculated by including weekends and public holidays. Regardless of which day of the week the revised due date falls on, students who submit after that date are penalised by 5% of the possible marks available for the assessment task per day or part thereof.

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).

Dr Michelle Worthington
02 6125 1071

Research Interests

Corporations Law; Legal Theory; Legal Design; Law Reform

Dr Michelle Worthington

By Appointment

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