• Class Number 2629
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online or In Person
    • AsPr Matthew Zagor
    • Dr Dominique Dalla-Pozza
    • Dr Jelena Gligorijevic
    • AsPr Ron Levy
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/02/2022
  • Class End Date 27/05/2022
  • Census Date 31/03/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
    • Dr Eve Lester
SELT Survey Results

This course in Australian Public Law reflects the distinctive vision of the ANU JD program in which the study of Australian Public Law is a compulsory part. It also reflects the particular emphasis that the ANU College of Law gives to the study and research of Australian Public Law, which ultimately is reflected in the research of the ANU College of Law and in organisations such as the Centre for International and Public Law. The study of Australian Public Law at a relatively early stage in JD studies will open a pathway into a range of additional law courses and opportunities, and to thinking about opportunities beyond the JD too. To that end, LAWS 6105 has a strong focus on foundational aspects of the discipline of Australian Public Law.

Australian Public Law deals with many aspects of the functioning of the key constitutional institutions of government at the national, state, and territory levels, and how those institutions interact with one another and with the Australian people. The wide-ranging impact of Australian Public Law on the Australian legal system and on Australian  governmental, judicial and social activities means that a basic knowledge of the terminology, institutions, and substance of Australian Public Law is not only worthwhile acquiring in its own right, but is also a necessary part of the knowledge and skills of any law graduate, and of any citizen of a democratic society. This makes Australian Public Law of considerable interest, whether you choose to go into the private practice of law, to work as a government or public lawyer, or are undertaking a law degree because you consider it will be useful in another career. This JD course in Australian Public Law is designed to provide you with an understanding of the core essentials of this area of law, and to provide you with the foundations for further reflection on, and study of, topics in this area.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Define, explain, distinguish and apply the basic concepts and advanced terminology used in Australian Public Law;
  2. Define and distinguish amongst the core constitutional concepts which shape Australian Public Law, and amongst the three branches of government into which our constitutional institutions are organised;
  3. Define, explain and apply the key foundational concepts and doctrines of Australian Public Law and be able to reflect at an advanced level on how those concepts and doctrines shape contemporary legal and political disputes;
  4. Define and contrast the different ways in which the branches of government operate, and reflect on the different ways in which Commonwealth, State, and Territory governments operate;
  5. Recognise and appraise the strengths and weaknesses of how the different branches and levels of government operate, and hypothesise about possible reforms with a specialist’s nuance and against a sophisticated theoretical background;
  6. Explain and demonstrate, through expert analysis of particular cases, the relevance of Australian Public Law to current political and legal developments at the national and state/territory levels;
  7. Select and apply a range of approaches in written communication, and apply the sophisticated and technical critical thinking required to bring about creative solutions to complex legal problems at the most significant and specialised national level; and
  8. Use, interpret and apply a wide range of materials in both on-line and traditional media from scholarly and more news-oriented sources.

Research-Led Teaching

The content of this course is informed by the research interests and expertise of the lecturers. A/Prof Zagor specialises in refugee law, constitutional law, international legal theory and recognition theory; Dr Gligorijevic specialises in privacy law, freedom of expression, defamation, analytic philosophy, proportionality, parliamentary privilege, the rule of law and rights conflicts; A/Prof Levy specialises in constitutional law, human rights, referendums, political processes, deliberative democracy and peacemaking.

Required Resources

Anthony J. Connolly, The Foundations of Australian Public Law: State, Power, Accountability (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

Other textbooks on public law that may serve as starting points for further reading/research include:

  • George Williams, Sean Brennan & Andrew Lynch, Blackshield and Williams’ Australian Constitutional Law & Theory: Commentary & Materials (Federation Press, 7th ed, 2018)
  • Gabrielle Appleby, Alexander Reilly & Laura Grenfell, Australian Public Law (Oxford University Press, 3d ed, 2018)
  • Joseph, Sarah & Melissa Castan, Federal Constitutional Law: A Contemporary View (Thomson Reuters, 5th ed, 2019)
  • Peter Hanks, Frances Gordon & Graeme Hill, Constitutional Law in Australia (LexisNexis Butterworths, 4th ed, 2018)
  • Ron Levy, Hoi Kong, Graeme Orr & Jeff King (eds), The Cambridge Handbook of Deliberative Constitutionalism (Cambridge University Press, 2018)
  • Cheryl Saunders, The Constitution of Australia: A Contextual Analysis (Hart, 2011)
  • Watson and Douglas, Indigenous legal judgments: bringing indigenous voices into judicial decision making (Abingdon, 2021) 
  • Douglas, Barker, Luker and Hunter, Australian Feminist Judgments (Hart, 2014)
  • Cheryl Saunders and Adrienne Stone (eds) The Oxford Handbook of the Australian Constitution (OUP, 2018)
  • Keyzer, Goff and Fisher, Principles of Australian Constitutional Law (LexisNexis, 2016)

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

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: 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 Zagor - Introduction to Australian Public Law I: (1) Constitutionalism, public power, and the clash of sovereignties
2 Zagor - Introduction to Australian Public Law II (2) Doctrines, principles and tensions in public law – federalism, representative & responsible government and the rule of law
3 Levy - Legislature I: Electoral Rights
4 Levy - Legislature II: Legislative Power & State Constitutions
5 Levy - Legislature III: Delegating Legislative Power to the Executive
6 Zagor - Executive I: The Structure of the Executive & the Nature and Content of Executive Power
7 Zagor - Executive II: Executive Power (Prerogative & Nationhood)
8 Zagor - Executive III: Spending & Accountability
9 Gligorijevic - Judiciary I: The Nature & Separation of Judicial Power
10 Gligorijevic - Judiciary II: Judicial Adjustment of the Separation of Judicial Power;
11 Gligorijevic - Judiciary III: the States
12 Course Review and Exam Prep

Tutorial Registration

Tutorials will run from weeks 3-11. Tutorial slots will be released two weeks before the course starts.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Online Quiz 0 % * * 1,2,6
Mid-semester Assessment 50 % 19/04/2022 24/05/2022 1,2,3,4,5,6
Final Examination 50 % * * 1,2,3,5,6

* 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 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.

If circumstances arise which are beyond a student’s control and they are unable to attend a class, the student should contact the Course Convenor in advance (where possible), so that the convenor can adjust their expectations in relation to numbers for that class. If it is not possible to give advance notice, students should send the convenor an email as soon as possible with evidence to support the reason for failure to attend.


Please note that there is an exam in this course. 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: 0 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,6

Online Quiz

Details of Task: This online quiz is designed to give students feedback on their comprehension of the public law themes introduced in the first two weeks of the course. It will allow students to test their comprehension of these key themes.

Nature of Task: Optional, but highly recommended. These public law themes are essential for a foundational understanding of public law. Students will be tested again on these themes (especially on the themes' application to concrete cases) in subsequent assessments.

Weighting: 0%

Release Date: The quiz will be posted on Wattle at 5pm, Thursday 17 March (Week 4).

Due Date: Any time during the semester, but best attempted early in the course to gauge your understanding of the themes.

Estimated return date: Immediately after completion. 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 19/04/2022
Return of Assessment: 24/05/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Mid-semester Assessment

Details of Task: This assessment will require students to relate the course's broad themes (eg, rights and federalism) to specific legal controversies. The assessment materials will present a legal problem scenario, which students will need to analyse (1) doctrinally (20 marks, approx 1000 words) and (2) thematically (30 marks, approx 1600 words).

The PROBLEM QUESTION (doctrinal analysis) will require students to discuss, in standard problem format (ie IRAC), how the laws introduced in Weeks 1-5 apply to the problem scenario.

The ESSAY (thematic analysis) will require students to discuss how the course themes introduced in Weeks 1-2 apply to the problem scenario. 'Course themes' will be set out in clear terms in pre-recorded videos and relevant readings. The essay also offers students an opportunity to engage in further research, analysis and reflection on a topic covered in this course. Students will be expected to undertake independent research, using appropriate primary and secondary resources.

Nature of task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Any student who does not submit either part of this assessment will receive a 0 for that part.

Value or weighting: 50%

Release date: Monday 7 March (Week 3)

Due date: 5pm, Tuesday 19 April (Week 7, after the break) via Turnitin. Late submission (without an extension) is permitted, although late penalties will apply.

Word limit: 2600 words

Estimated return date: 24 May 2022

Assessment Criteria:

PROBLEM QUESTION answers will be marked according to how well they:

  • Identify the relevant issues from the factual situation presented in the question;
  • Identify and accurately explain the applicable legal principles, giving authority;
  • Accurately and concisely apply the legal principles to the factual situation;
  • Avoid irrelevant issues;
  • Provide a well-structured and written answer that responds to the question and organises ideas and arguments in a logical way; and
  • Comply with the principles of academic honesty.

ESSAYS will be graded according to how well they:

  • Are structured: There should be a clear central argument in the paper. The whole paper should defend, explore and deepen this central argument.
  • Are clearly presented: Papers should be simply and logically organised. They should use headings and subheadings, appropriate terminology, and correct grammar, syntax and spelling. The style must also be consistent with the AGLC 4th ed.
  • Answer the question asked.
  • Reason persuasively and rigorously, and demonstrate critical and original thinking.
  • Demonstrate sound research and analytical skills. The paper must demonstrate adequate breadth and depth of research, and an ability to apply the research to the question in the construction of key arguments. Primary and secondary materials should be covered.
  • Make accurate and succinct use of relevant legal materials. All arguments must be supported by relevant authorities.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5,6

Final Examination

Description of task: The exam will require students to answer one problem question. Students will be required to demonstrate an understanding of the relevant doctrinal legal principles and apply them to a factual scenario presented in the exam. The exam will cover course content from Weeks 6-11. There is no thematic component in this assessment.

Nature of task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit this assessment will result in a mark of zero for this assessment task.

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: 90 minutes.

Weighting: 50%

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

Assessment Criteria: Exams will be graded according to how well they:

  • Identify the relevant issues from the factual situation presented in the question;
  • Identify and accurately explain the applicable legal principles, giving authority;
  • Accurately and concisely apply the legal principles to the factual situation;
  • Avoid irrelevant issues;
  • Comprise a well-structured and written answer that responds to the question and organises ideas and arguments in a logical way; and
  • Comply with the principles of academic honesty.

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. DO NOT INCLUDE A COVER SHEET. USE ONLY WORD FILES (no pdf).

Hardcopy Submission

This course does not require or accept hardcopy submissions for any assessment.

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. 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.

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 Matthew Zagor
+61 2 6125 4911

Research Interests

Human rights, Constitutional Law, Public law, Democracy, Deliberation, Referendums, Peacemaking and Constitutional Creation

AsPr Matthew Zagor

By Appointment
Dr Dominique Dalla-Pozza
+61 2 6125 0811

Research Interests

Dr Dominique Dalla-Pozza

By Appointment
Dr Jelena Gligorijevic
+61 2 6125 1108

Research Interests

Dr Jelena Gligorijevic

By Appointment
AsPr Ron Levy
+61 2 6125 0814

Research Interests

AsPr Ron Levy

By Appointment
Dr Eve Lester

Research Interests

Dr Eve Lester

By Appointment

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