• Class Number 4084
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online or In Person
    • Prof James Stellios
    • William Gummow
  • 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
SELT Survey Results

The course deals with the law which a court will apply to an action which contains some "foreign" element - ie, one or more of the facts of the case occurred outside the State or Territory which is hearing the matter.

It also deals with the basis upon which a court in Australia may take jurisdiction over a defendant not resident within the jurisdiction, and the circumstances in which judgments obtained overseas, or arbitral awards given overseas, may be enforced in Australia.

Selected topics include:

  • Choice of Law in Contract
  • Choice of Law in Tort
  • Jurisdiction in actions in contract, tort, for misleading conduct and estoppel
  • Refusal to exercise jurisdiction (forum non conveniens)
  • Enforcement of Foreign Judgments and arbitral awards.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify, distinguish and explain theoretical knowledge and general principles of the conflict of laws;
  2. Identify, synthesise and critically examine the theory and principles of choice of law in relation to contract and tort liability;
  3. Examine and critically apply to complex problems, the operation of various rules pertaining to territorial jurisdiction in relation to actions in tort, contract and related fields of law;
  4. Identify, evaluate and critically apply the principles by which judgments and arbitral awards given in countries outside Australia, may be enforced in Australia; and
  5. Plan, design and execute a research project that identifies, critically examines and communicates comparative analysis to complex theoretical issues and practical problems in matters where conflict of laws arise, demonstrating relevant research principles and techniques.

Research-Led Teaching

This course has two teachers. Professor William Gummow is a former High Court Justice who wrote many of the judgments that will be studied in this course. Professor James Stellios is an active researcher in the field of federal jurisdiction and has published on topics studied during this course. He is also a practising barrister and has advised clients on conflicts issues and appeared in conflicts cases.

The essay option in this course provides students with an opportunity to undertake independent research into a topic covered in the course.

Required Resources

* Library E-book

Davies, Bell, Brereton and Douglas, Nygh's Conflict of Laws in Australia (10th ed, 2020)

Mortensen, Garnett, Keyes, Private international law in Australia (4th ed, 2018)

Adrian Briggs, The Conflict of Laws (4th ed, 2019)

Staff Feedback

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

  • detailed comments on assessment items;
  • general discussion in class, particularly in the Q&A Sessions.

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

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: Students are required to access the WATTLE site regularly throughout the course for details on weekly classes and any announcements or updates relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to basic conflict of laws questions and principles: jurisdiction, characterisation, connecting factors and renvoi
2 Service out of jurisdiction, cross-vesting between States, and foreign state immunity
3 Q&A Session
4 Stays
5 Anti-suit injunctions
6 Reading week - no classes
7 Choice of law
8 Choice of law and the Australian federal system
9 Q&A Session
10 Proof of foreign law and recognition of foreign judgments
11 Reading week - no classes
12 Q&A Session

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Optional Online Quiz 0 % 25/03/2022 25/03/2022 1,2
Research Essay 50 % 09/05/2022 27/05/2022 1,2,5
Final Exam 50 % * * 3,4

* 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 Integrity 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 Skills 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.


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. 

Assessment Task 1

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 25/03/2022
Return of Assessment: 25/03/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Optional Online Quiz

Details of the Task: Optional online quiz to be taken on Wattle. This assessment task is designed to give students an opportunity to receive feedback on their progress in the course.

Nature of Task: Optional online quiz to be taken on Wattle.

Weighting: 0%

Release: 10 am, Friday 11 March 2022

Due date: 5 pm, Friday 25 March 2022. The quiz will not be accessible after the closing time. No submissions after the due date are permitted.

Estimated return date: Result available immediately upon completion of quiz.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 09/05/2022
Return of Assessment: 27/05/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,5

Research Essay

Details of Task: The course is designed to introduce students to the three main areas of conflict of laws: jurisdiction, choice of law and recognition of judgments of courts from other law areas. The essay question will require students to explore and critically analyse a conflict of laws issue or issues. In responding to the essay question, students will be expected to recognise, explain and analyse themes or theoretical perspectives covered in this course and independently plan and conduct legal research. The question will focus on one or more conflict of laws areas covered in this course.

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

Weighting: 50%

Release Date: 10 am, Monday 28 February 2022

Due Date: 5pm, Monday 9 May 2022. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted. However, penalties for late submissions will be applied.

Word Limit: 3500 words excluding footnotes. Penalties will be applied for exceeding the word limit. Any substantive content in footnotes will not be marked. The word length must be set out clearly at the end of the final page of your essay.

Estimated return date: Depending on the number of student enrolled in the course, it is anticipated that essay marks and feedback will be provided by Friday, 27 May 2022.

Assessment Criteria: The following criteria will be applied when assessing the essay:

  • Students will be expected to critically reflect on course material relevant to the essay question.
  • Students will be expected to demonstrate strong research and analytical skills. Research should cover relevant and appropriate primary and secondary materials, be wide-ranging, and thoughtfully selected and used. There should be appropriate use of legal authority to support the arguments put forward.
  • Students will be expected to demonstrate clear communication skills in presenting arguments, ideas and analysis.
  • Students will be expected to organise arguments and ideas in a structured way and respond to the question asked. Arguments should be well-reasoned.
  • Students will be expected to use the Australian Guide to Legal Citations 4, and failure to do so may affect the awarded mark.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Learning Outcomes: 3,4

Final Exam

Details of Task: The course is designed to introduce students to the three main areas of conflict of laws: jurisdiction, choice of law and recognition of judgments of courts from other law areas. The final exam will seek to test the practical application of the legal rules relevant to these three main areas covered during the course. Students will be required to demonstrate an understanding of the relevant legal rules and apply them to a factual scenario presented in the exam question(s). You will be expected to explain, summarise and apply the conflict rules to solve a complex hypothetical problem. All course material on these three areas from weeks 1-12 may be assessed in the exam.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to complete it will result in a 0 for this assessment item.

Exam date and duration: The final exam will be held in the end-of-semester exam period. Please consult the ANU examinations timetable when it is released. The duration is 3 hours in total.

Word Limit: 3000 words excluding footnotes. Penalties will be applied for exceeding the word limit. Any substantive content in footnotes will not be marked. The word length must be set out clearly at the end of the final page of your exam.

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

Assessment Criteria: The following criteria will be applied when assessing the exam:

  • Students should identify the relevant issues from the factual scenario presented in the question.
  • Students should identify and accurately explain the applicable legal rules and principles, providing relevant authority in support.
  • Students should accurately and concisely apply the legal principles to the factual situation, drawing by analogy from the cases considered in the course where relevant and appropriate.
  • Students should avoid irrelevant issues. Discussion of irrelevant issues will affect the awarded mark.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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 tests 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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

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 James Stellios
+61 2 6125 3483

Research Interests

Conflict of laws, constitutional law, federal judicial system

Prof James Stellios

By Appointment
William Gummow

Research Interests

William Gummow

By Appointment

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