• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest Law, Policy Studies, Political Sciences, Politics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

This course will provide an overview of the major debates in comparative judicial politics.  The primary goal is to familiarise students with principal questions and methodological approaches to the study of a major subfield in political science.  This is not a course in constitutional law and we will not focus on the development of legal doctrines or the close reading of cases. Rather, the focus of this class will be on studying law and courts as a political institution and judges as political actors. The topics that may be covered will include: judicial behaviour, strategic decision-making, the global spread of judicial review, judicial independence, litigation and legal mobilisation, and judicial careers.  The focus of this course will be comparative with an emphasis on advanced industrial democracies; however, we will discuss courts and legal systems in new democracies and authoritarian regimes as well.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. critically analyse the structure and dynamics of judicial political actors;
  2. analyse the contribution of the judicial system to our understanding of political science;
  3. apply the various analytical frameworks of judicial politics;
  4. place judicial institutions in a comparative framework by making reference to advanced democracies; and
  5. demonstrate sound research, writing, and oral presentation skills.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Seminar Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  2. Presentation, 15 minutes (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Essay, 2500 words (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  4. Take home examination, 2000 words, due 5 days after start time (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact: 24 hours of lectures, and 12 hours of tutorials delivered intensively over 10 days; and b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of 1000 level POLS courses; or with permission of the convener

Prescribed Texts

Keith E. Whittington, R. Daniel Kelemen, and Gregory A. Caldeira eds, The Oxford Handbook of Law and Politics (OUP: 2010)


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.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $4320
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $5820
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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