• Class Number 1607
  • Term Code 3120
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic Comparative Australian-United States Perspectives
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Prof Donald Rothwell
    • Prof Donald Rothwell
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 11/01/2021
  • Class End Date 19/02/2021
  • Census Date 22/01/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 11/01/2021
SELT Survey Results

The course will be taught jointly by a visiting ANU academic and an academic from the University of Alabama Law School. (While the specific subject area of the course will vary from year to year, depending on the particular field of interest of the ANU/UA visitors, it will involve a comparative study of Australian and US approaches to the particular subject matter. Assessment details, teaching methods and type of course materials will vary from year to year depending on the subject matter and personnel involved in each offering of the course, but will be specified prior to student enrolment in the course).

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. In relation to a selected topic, identify and critically analyse the similarities and differences between Australian and US law.
  2. Identify, and use a variety of legal research sources in both the US and Australian jurisdictions to research a comparative legal issue or question.
  3. Design, plan and execute a substantial legal research project or essay, with intellectual independence.
  4. Apply appropriate legal citation conventions in the course of legal writing.
  5. Discuss and critically debate knowledge and ideas effectively in a cross-cultural context.
  6. Identify and appraise different comparative law methodologies that could be applied to compare and evaluate aspects of US and Australian law.

Research-Led Teaching

The course convenor will draw on their own research and experience in relation to international law in Australia and the United States to supplement the readings and discussions in each session.

Required Resources

Required resources will be made available via an E-brick on the course WATTLE site.

Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 10

International law : cases and materials with Australian perspectives / Donald R. Rothwell, Stuart Kaye, Afshin Akhtar-Khavari, Ruth Davis, Imogen Saunders.



Chapters 1, 2, 3, 5, 17, 18, 23

International law in Australia / edited by Donald R. Rothwell, Emily Crawford.


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

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 this 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 relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Date: Monday, 11 January Topic: Introduction + Sources of International Law
2 Date: Tuesday, 12 January Topic: Foreign Relations Law + Topical Snapshots Guest Presenter (TBC)
3 Date: Wednesday, 13 January Topic: Law of the Sea Class Exercise
4 Date: Thursday, 14 January Topic: Law of the Sea Class Exercise
5 Date: Friday, 15 January Topic: International Security
6 Date: Monday, 18 January Topic: Antarctica Guest Presenter (TBC)
7 Date: Tuesday, 19 January Topic: South China Sea Class Exercise
8 Date: Wednesday, 20 January Topic: Nuclear Disarmament and Nuclear Proliferation
9 Date: Thursday, 21 January Topic: International Court of Justice
10 Date: Friday, 22 January Topic: Concluding Remarks Exam Consultation + Essay Consultation

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Online test. 30 % 29/01/2021 08/02/2021 1,2, 5, 6
Research Project: Essay 70 % 22/02/2020 22/03/2021 1, 2, 5, 6

* 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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 29/01/2021
Return of Assessment: 08/02/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2, 5, 6

Online test.

Brief Description: The online test will focus on a comparative international law assessment of Australia and the USA as developed in classes, and specifically in the podcasts between the course convenor and invited experts. Students will be invited to write a short essay that reflects upon a comparative international law question that builds upon issues addressed in the podcasts.

Nature of Task: Compulsory

Weighting: 30%

Duration: 120 minutes (cumulative of reading, writing and submission time)

Word Length: 1200 words

Commencement: 1pm Australian Eastern Daylight time on Friday 29 January 2021.

If you experience unavoidable and extenuating circumstances and cannot sit the online test 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 online test, at the same time one week later. This will be your final opportunity to sit the online test. 

Estimated return date: 8 February 2021

Assessment Criteria:

1. Develops a clear argument and responds to the question.

2. Critically evaluates relevant material.

3. Reflects primary and secondary legal sources.

4. Engages in appropriate comparative analysis (including adopting appropriate comparative methodologies).

5. Addresses issues and communicates with clarity, precision and accuracy.

An assessment rubric will be made available to students by the end of the first week of classes.


Assessment Task 2

Value: 70 %
Due Date: 22/02/2020
Return of Assessment: 22/03/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 5, 6

Research Project: Essay

Brief Description: Students will complete a comparative research project on a) a prescribed research project topic (eg. law of the sea, Antarctica), or b) a question of their choice. There will be opportunities in class to discuss research project topics, and for individual consultations with the course convenor.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to complete any one aspect of the Research Project will result in a mark of 0 being awarded for the entire task.

Weighting: 70%

Word Limit: 3500 words

Release: The requirements of this task will be discussed in the first week of classes and final instructions will be released on WATTLE by Wednesday 20 January 2021.

Due date: 5 pm on Monday 22 February 2021

Estimated return date: 22 March 2021

Assessment Criteria:

Projects will be assessed by reference to how well the student:

1. Structures their project including logically moving through the issues.

2. Develops a clear argument and responds to the question.

3. Critically evaluates relevant material.

4. Researches primary and secondary legal sources.

5. Engages in appropriate comparative analysis (including adopting appropriate comparative methodologies).

6. Where formal written work is submitted, references and complies with the AGLC.

7. Addresses issues and communicates with clarity, precision and accuracy.

An assessment rubric will be made available to students by the end of the first week of classes.

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).

Prof Donald Rothwell
+61 2 6125 8948

Research Interests

Donald R Rothwell is Professor of International Law at the ANU College of Law, Australian National University where he has taught since July 2006. His research has a specific focus on law of the sea, international polar law, and implementation of international law within Australia as reflected in 26 books, and over 200 articles, book chapters and notes in international and Australian publications. Rothwell’s recent authored, co-authored or edited books include International Polar Law (Edward Elgar, 2018) co-edited with Hemmings; International Law in Australia 3rd (Thomson Reuters, 2017) edited with Crawford; and The International Law of the Sea 2nd (Bloomsbury, 2016) with Stephens. Major career works include The Polar Regions and the Development of International Law (CUP, 1996), and International Law: Cases and Materials with Australian Perspectives 3rd (CUP, 2018) with Kaye, Akhtar-Khavari, Davis and Saunders. Rothwell is also Co-Editor of the Australian Year Book of International Law and Editor-in-Chief of the Brill Research Perspectives in Law of the Sea. His most recent works include The Legal Authority of ASEAN as a Security Institution (CUP, 2019), with Nasu, McLaughlin and Tang, and The Law of the Sea in South East Asia (Routledge, 2019), edited with Letts. From 2012-18 he was Rapporteur of the International Law Association (ILA) Committee on ‘Baselines under the International Law of the Sea’. He has taught a range of courses including Law of the Sea, International Dispute Resolution, International Law and Use of Armed Force, International Humanitarian Law, Military Operations Law, and Public International Law. Rothwell was previously Challis Professor of International Law and Director of the Sydney Centre for International and Global Law, University of Sydney (2004-2006), where he had taught since 1988. He has acted as a consultant or been a member of expert groups for UNEP, UNDP, IUCN, the Australian Government, and acted as advisor to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). In 2012 Rothwell was appointed an inaugural ANU Public Policy Fellow, and in 2015 elected as a Fellow to the Australian Academy of Law (FAAL). He is a regular media commentator on international law issues and has written over 100 opinion comments, including for all of the major daily newspapers in Australia and ABC Online ‘The Drum. His media interviews have included ABC TV 7.30, ABC Radio ‘AM’ and ‘PM’, ABC Radio National ‘Breakfast’, ABC News 24, Al Jazerra (TV), BBC World (TV), the Voice of America, and The New York Times.

Prof Donald Rothwell

By Appointment
By Appointment
Prof Donald Rothwell
+61 2 6125 8948

Research Interests

Prof Donald Rothwell

By Appointment
By Appointment

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