This course examines the structure and themes of Australian public law, providing a bridge to all other public law study in the curriculum. In essence, the course examines how public power is structured, distributed, and controlled in Australia. The distinctive roles played by the legislature, the executive and the judiciary receive special attention. Subsidiary themes in the course are protection of individual rights in the Australian legal system, and constitutional change and evolution in Australia. The following topics will be covered:
- the constitutional and legislative framework for Australian public law
- major concepts and themes in Australian public law, including federalism, separation of powers, constitutionalism, representative democracy, rule of law, and liberalism
- the Legislature, including the structure of Australian legislatures, parliamentary supremacy, and express and implied constitutional limitations on legislative power
- the Executive, including the structure of Executive government, executive power, and liability of the Crown
- the Judiciary, including the constitutional separation of judicial power, and the administrative law implications of judicial separation
- constitutional change and evolution, including constitutional amendment.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Describe and explain the reasons why countries adopt written constitutions to regulate the control of government power and the key features of Australia’s Constitution, including the capacity for constitutional change;
- Identify and analyse the core features, principles and rules of the Australian constitutional framework covered in the course;
- Analyse and predict how unresolved and/or ambiguous questions of public law could be resolved by the courts through an analysis of case law, underlying policy and the judicial method;
- Identify and use a range of legally specific research principles, methods and tools appropriate to plan and execute a public law research project;
- Select and apply a range of approaches to written and oral communication, and apply the critical thinking required to bring about solutions to complex legal problems and/or issues in the context of advising a client in an Australian public law matter;
- Access, use, interpret and apply a range of domestic secondary legal resources to solve complex public law problems/issues.
This course together with Commonwealth Constitutional Law, covers the essentials of Australian Constitutional Law. At the same time this course builds on Foundations of Australian Law, particularly the reception of law in Australia and the historical evolution of responsible and representative government, and also serves as an introduction to Administrative Law and to a number of the courses in the elective program. It must be taken early in the law degree.
Australian Public Law is taken in first semester of second year for all combined degree students. Students undertaking a single degree (LLB or JD) will study Australian Public Law in second semester of first year (or later for part-time students).
- Please refer to the course home page for assessment information. (null) [LO null]
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For the first six weeks, there will be one two-hour and one one-hour lecture. Tutorials will begin in the seventh week, taking the place of the one-hour lecture for the next six weeks. Students are generally expected to devote at least 10 hours overall per week to this course.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately 2 weeks prior to the commencement of the course.
It will be useful for students to follow domestic political developments during the course, such as where there is an election or change in leadership of a major party, a high profile parliamentary inquiry or debate (eg around proposed legislation, the behaviour of members, or the scrutiny of the executive) or a controversial matter before the courts.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.