• Class Number 2549
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Judith Jones
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
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 LAWS6103 Torts. Students commencing their legal studies in Semester Two are expected to undertake Foundations of Australian Law with LAWS6104 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.

This course meets the requirements of the Law Admissions Consultative Committee Statement on Statutory Interpretation. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Evaluate the sources of, and contemporary developments in, law and the legal system in Australia.
  2. Critically reflect on the historical and social context of the institutions of the Australian legal system, incorporating a range of perspectives which recognise and value diverse culture and traditions.
  3. Formulate and justify oral and written arguments in response to questions about the Australian legal system and the process of law-making.
  4. Evaluate and implement methods of legal reasoning and statutory interpretation to generate legally defensible conclusions with respect to legal problems.
  5. Research case law, legislation and scholarly journal articles, in order to formulate and communicate decisions in a range of written and oral formats.
  6. Utilise feedback to critically reflect on their own developing legal professional practice skills and understanding.

Research-Led Teaching

Examination Material or equipment

Information on what to expect during an examination

Required Resources

Essential: Creyke et al, Laying Down the Law (LexisNexis Butterworths, 11th ed, 2020). You must purchase this text and it must be the 11th edition. Do not purchase an earlier edition.

  • Students are strongly encouraged to also obtain a legal dictionary. One such dictionary is the: Concise Australian Legal Dictionary (Lexis Nexis Butterworths). Some booksellers (such as Harry Hartog - on campus) offer the Lexis Nexis Butterworths legal dictionary sold in a discounted bundle with the required text. While you must have the most recent edition of the textbook (see above), the same is not true for the legal dictionary. A second hand copy, or an earlier edition, of any legal dictionary is certainly adequate.
  • Students are strongly recommended to purchase a copy of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th edition) published by the University of Melbourne and available on Zookal for a modest price. A free online version is also available. However, the online version is not as convenient or as easy to use as a hard copy. (You need the 4th edition. Any earlier edition of AGLC is not suitable).

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments on individual work
  • 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). 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: 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 1: Introduction to seminars; introduction to legal systems and sources of law. Lecture 1: Sources of Law: Plurality of Legal Systems Students in this course must attend the main weekly teaching event which is one compulsory 2-hour seminar each week for 12 weeks of the semester. These seminars are not recorded.
2 Seminar 2: Case law as a source of law and legal reasoning. Lecture 2: Sources of Law: Legal Institutions in English History
3 Seminar 3: Using legal rules and employing legal argument Lecture 3: Finding Sources of Law: Legal Research Skills Part 1 Preparation of a written practice problem for seminar 3. Bring your written answer to class. This will not be handed in or formally assessed. In class you will receive general feedback on the practice problem. Preparation of the problem and comparison with the general feedback allows for the development of reflective practice.
4 Seminar 4: Judicial reasoning - Speluncean Explorers Lecture 4: Finding Sources of Law: Legal Research Skills Part 2
5 Seminar 5: Reading and analysing cases Lecture 5: Sources of Law: Legal Institutions in Australian History
6 Seminar 6: Judicial reasoning and legal change. Lecture 6: Sources of Law: Social and Legal Change in Australian Law
7 Seminar 7: The Constitution; the parliament as a source of law-making Lecture 7: Parliamentary Law-Making - a political and legal process
8 Seminar 8: Key principles and approaches to statutory interpretation; commence interpretation in context Lecture 8: Statutory Interpretation 1
9 Seminar 9: Statutory Interpretation continued; continue context and purpose. Lecture 9: Statutory Interpretation 2
10 Seminar 10: Statutory Interpretation continued; extrinsic materials and presumptions of statutory interpretation Lecture 10: Statutory Interpretation 3
11 Seminar 11: Statutory Interpretation continued; commence practice problem solving Lecture 11: Statutory Interpretation problem solving: issue spotting, process and practice.
12 Seminar 12: Statutory Interpretation continued; practice problem solving continued, relevance and context Lecture 12: Your questions about statutory interpretation answered. (No new material).
13 Final exam (problem solving) involving statutory interpretation; held during the examination period.

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time.This course is taught in discussion based seminars (1 x 2 hours per week). Attendance and participation in these seminars is compulsory. ).

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Legal Reasoning Task 20 % 14/03/2023 30/03/2023 4, 6.
Annotated Bibliography 30 % 04/05/2023 19/05/2023 1,2,3,5.
Final Examination 50 % * 29/06/2023 4.
Compulsory Seminar Attendance 0 % * 29/06/2023 1,2,3,4,6.

* 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 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.


This course will include a final examination. Examinations are conducted on campus during the University's examination period. Students should consult the exam timetable when it has been finalised.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 14/03/2023
Return of Assessment: 30/03/2023
Learning Outcomes: 4, 6.

Legal Reasoning Task

Details of Task: A short legal reasoning task. Students will be required to complete a legal reasoning task involving the presentation of arguments that apply legal principles from a single case (Halliday v Nevill). The task is based on material relevant to seminars 1 - 3. The best preparation for this task is preparation for and engagement with seminars 1 - 3. Preparation of a written and footnoted version of the practice problem for seminar 3 will provide you with feedback that, with further self-reflection, is relevant to completion of this task. Evidence of that self-reflection will be submitted as a component of the submitted task. Further guidance will be provided in the task instructions.

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

Weighting: 20%

Word Limit: 1000 words. The ANU College of Law's Word Length and Excess Word penalties policy can be found here (hyperlink: https://law.anu.edu.au/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties).

Release: 6pm Friday 10 March 2023 via WATTLE.

Submission Requirements: Footnotes should be used for the referencing of all sources. All references should be compliant with the current edition of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation. Your submission must be made in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). PDF files will not be accepted.

Due: 5pm, Tuesday 14 March 2023 via WATTLE. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, but late penalties will apply.

Estimated return date: 30 March 2023

Assessment Criteria: A rubric will be issued with the task.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 04/05/2023
Return of Assessment: 19/05/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5.

Annotated Bibliography

Details: Students will be assessed on their ability to prepare an Annotated Bibliography from a choice of at least 2 topics relating to aspects of foundational principles associated with Australian legal history, the common law and other legal systems, the nature of law and legal institutions, and legal reasoning including legal issues relating to Indigenous peoples (as covered in Foundations of Australian Law). This task will involved a legal research component.

The task will cover relevant course materials from lectures and seminars from weeks 1 - 6 (inclusive).

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

Weighting: 30%

Release: 6pm, Friday 31 March 2023 via Wattle.

Word limit: 1800 words. Please refer to the detailed task instructions regarding how to calculate the word count.

Submission requirements: Footnotes should be used for the referencing of all sources. All references should be compliant with the current edition of the Australian Guide to Legal Citation. Your submission must be made in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). PDF files will not be accepted.

Due date: 5 pm, Thursday 4 May 2023 via Turnitin. Late submissions (without an extension) are permitted, but late penalties will apply.

Estimated return date: Friday 19 May 2023

Assessment Criteria: A detailed rubric will be provided on Wattle.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 50 %
Return of Assessment: 29/06/2023
Learning Outcomes: 4.

Final Examination

Details of Task: Broadly, students will be assessed on their ability to construct and present a legal argument in response to a legal problem containing a hypothetical statute while correctly applying the principles of statutory interpretation in their answer to the given question.

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%

Length: 3 hours.

Due Date: Students should consult the ANU examination timetable once finalised to confirm the date, duration and time of the exam.

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

Assessment Criteria:

Analyse a legal problem involving interpretation of a statute and plan an answer;

Utilise the HIRAC structure flexibly to effectively communicate a written answer to a statutory interpretation problem by:

  • Identifying legal issues in the problem;
  • Accurately explaining principles of statutory interpretation relevant to the problem and referring to the specific source of those principles;
  • Applying relevant principles of law to facts contained in the problem question;
  • Concluding on the relevant legal issue(s); and
  • Write legibly and coherently and manage own time under examination conditions.
  • Informal reference to sources as acceptable under exam conditions (see Wattle for further guidance). In this course formal AGLC citation is not required under examination conditions.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 0 %
Return of Assessment: 29/06/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,6.

Compulsory Seminar Attendance

Details of Task: The Foundations of Australian Law seminars provide a supported learning environment that equips students to cope, week-by-week, with the assessment tasks that students face in this course and other first-semester law courses. The group work and other activities undertaken in these seminars relies on students having completed the assigned preparation prior to class, where required, in order to ensure each individual gains the maximum benefit from the seminar experience. To facilitate this, 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.

Weighting: 0%

Nature of task: Compulsory. Failure to complete the attendance requirements may result in a loss of up to 5% of the marks overall for the course.

Penalties: Failure to attend 10 out of the 12 seminars without documented special circumstances will result in 5% being deducted from students overall mark for the course.

Due date: Ongoing. From 2023, any further absence from class, excluding the two unexplained absences, will require you to outline the circumstances that prevent your attendance and the appropriate documentation.

Exceptional circumstances that may warrant approval may include, but are not limited to:

  • medical reasons (student injury, illness or medical condition, including COVID illness or isolation);
  • family/personal reasons (family injury or illness, bereavement);
  • cultural or religious commitments; where a cultural or religious event conflicts with the scheduled seminar.

Please note that approval will not be given for work related reasons.

From your ANU email address, you must email enquiries.law@anu.edu.au indicating

  • your full name and student ID;
  • the date you will be absent (or were absent) from the seminar;
  • the exceptional circumstances you have experienced that have necessitated your absence; and
  • relevant documentation that supports your claims.'

Further details are provided on the course Wattle site.

Please do not email your course convenor or seminar leader for privacy reasons. All medical and other personal documentation that is sent to Col Enquiries, will be destroyed from the provided email address on the server once the assessment has been made. 

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

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 in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). Electronic copies in .pdf file format are not acceptable.

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 granted an extension. Where an extension is granted, the revised due date and submission time will be provided in writing. Importantly, any revised due date is inclusive of weekends and public holidays. Regardless of which day of the week the revised due date falls on, students who submit after that date will be penalised by 5% of the possible marks available for the task per 24-hour period.  

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.

Returning Assignments

All marks and feedback will be provided by the return date listed in the class summary. 

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).

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