• Class Number 2411
  • Term Code 3430
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Leighton McDonald
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 19/02/2024
  • Class End Date 24/05/2024
  • Census Date 05/04/2024
  • Last Date to Enrol 26/02/2024
    • Brandon Smith
    • Charlotte Hoynes
    • AsPr Stephen Thomson
SELT Survey Results

Building on Australian Public Law, this course aims to deepen student understanding of key aspects of the Australian administrative justice system. Administrative law concerns the legal rules and institutions which seek to keep the ‘governors’ in society (principally, decision-makers in the executive arm of government) accountable. It encompasses both judicial and non-judicial modes of accountability (eg administrative tribunals, the ombudsman, and legislation providing for access to information and limiting the purposes for which government can use information). Administrative law can be conceptualised as the legal regulation of the exercise of public (as opposed to ‘private’) power. More specifically, this course will consider:

  • Different ways to think about the reach of administrative law in the context of the changing nature of contemporary governance;
  • The function and scope of judicial review of administrative action, with particular attention to the constitutional, statutory and common law sources of judicial review jurisdiction.
  • Many of the important legal principles associated with the availability of judicial review remedies, the grounds on which administrative decisions may be judicially reviewed, and ‘standing’ to bring judicial review actions;
  • Statutory attempts by Parliaments to restrict judicial review and the extent to which judicial review is constitutionally entrenched;
  • The concept of merit review, with particular attention to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal;
  • The role played by non-adjudicative accountability mechanism with particular attention to the operation of public sector Ombudsman and Freedom of Information legislation;
  • The role played by administrative law in the context of important constitutional principles such as the separation of powers and the rule of law;
  • The historical and social context in which Australian administrative law has developed.


This course meets the requirements of the Law Admissions Consultative Committee Prescribed Academic Areas of Knowledge for Administrative Law. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Critically evaluate the principles and values of administrative law and the roles played by the institutions of administrative law in the administrative justice system.
  2. Critically reflect on contemporary developments in administrative law and its social and ethical impact on society in order to propose legal, policy, and practical reforms which reflect a diverse range of perspectives.
  3. Research, interpret and apply a range of legal sources and complex statutory material to solve administrative law problems.
  4. Select and apply a range of approaches to communication, and apply the professional judgment required to design and justify solutions to complex administrative law problems.
  5. Reflect critically on judicial reasoning in administrative law cases, the values underpinning administrative law, and the impact of the law on administrative decision-making.

Research-Led Teaching

This course has been designed and is taught by scholars who are active researchers in the field of administrative law. The approach to teaching and assessment requires students confront some of the key questions that animate contemporary research in the field with the aim of preparing them to participate in debates about how to best explain, interpret and reform administrative law.

Required Resources

Students will require a textbook and the associated ‘cases’ book. The books can be purchased together as a 'value pack', and are also available as eBooks or eBook rentals.

  • McDonald, Leighton, Kristen Rundle, and Emily Hammond, Principles of Administrative Law (4th ed, Oxford University Press, 2023)
  • McDonald, Leighton, Kristen Rundle, and Emily Hammond, Cases for Principles of Administrative Law (4th ed , Oxford University Press, 2023)

Whether you are on campus or studying online, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • oral comments
  • feedback to the whole class, to groups or to individuals.

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

Task submission times refer to Canberra time (AEST/AEDT).

Extensions, late submission and penalties: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties

Extenuating circumstances: https://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/extenuating-circumstances-application

Deferred examination: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/deferred-examinations

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 any announcements relating to the course.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): The ANU Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as providing clear guidance on the responsible and ethical use of AI technologies. The following resources may also be useful:

  • The ANU Library's Libguide is a valuable resource for gaining a comprehensive understanding of AI's role in academia.
  • The ANU Academic Skills site provides useful information to ensure that you leverage AI responsibly and effectively.
  • The ANU College of Law Academic Integrity and Misconduct site provides content related to legal implications, ethical guidelines, and considerations when dealing with AI in the context of law.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to Administrative Law in AustraliaPolitical and Legal Accountability in an Administrative State: The role of delegated legislation In line with the University’s recording policy, lectures, seminars and lectorials will be recorded and made available for students on Echo360. However, lecture recordings are only an additional resource and they should not be taken as a substitute for regular attendance. If a recording does fail, there is no guarantee a replacement recording will be provided.
2 Navigating Judicial Review in Australia(Freedom of Information assignment distributed)
3 The Scope of Judicial Review
4 Judicial Review Remedies and Consequences of Legal Error
5 Introduction to Administrative Law Norms (grounds of review)Procedural Fairness:
  • Fair Hearing Rule
6 Procedural Fairness:
  • Rule Against Bias
Reason giving requirements
7 'Reasoning' process norms
8 Administrative law norms and the law/fact distinctionAdministrative law norms of reasonableness
9 Access to Judicial Review: the law of standingLegislative restrictions on judicial review
10 Legislative restrictions on judicial Review Merits review and tribunals
11 Merits review and tribunalsBeyond Courts and Tribunals
  • Ombuds
  • Parliaments
12 Revision

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. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Online Quiz 0 % * * 1,2
Mid-semester Online Test 10 % 02/04/2024 15/05/2024 1,2,4,5
Law Reform Assignment 20 % 11/04/2024 22/05/2024 2,3,4
Final Examination 70 % * * 1,2,3,4,5
Optional Class Participation 10 % * * 1,2,3,4,5

* 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.


Examinations are held during the University's examination period. Students should consult the exam timetable when it has been finalised.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 0 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Online Quiz

Details of Task: There will be an online quiz, consisting of 10 multiple choice questions.

Nature of Task: Optional

Weighting: 0%

Release: 9am, 25 March 2024

Duration: 60 minutes. Once you have commenced your attempt, you will have 60 minutes to complete it. The quiz will finish after 60 minutes and any open attempts will close and be submitted automatically. Please allow sufficient time to complete your attempt.

Due Date: The optional online quiz will remain open for attempts throughout the course teaching period. As this quiz is open for more than 24 hours, no time adjustments or extensions shall be applied for this task.

Estimated Return Date: Results are available immediately upon completion of quiz.

Assessment Criteria: The mark for the quiz will be based on the number of correct responses.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 02/04/2024
Return of Assessment: 15/05/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

Mid-semester Online Test

Details of Task: The mid-semester test is designed to develop your capacity to engage carefully and critically with the cases and issues covered in the first half of the course. You will need to answer one question of two available questions. This will assist you in fulfilling the learning outcomes, with an emphasis on expected learning outcomes 1, 2, 4 and 5. The assessment task will also prepare students for ‘reflective/argumentative questions’ component of the final examination (see below for further information).

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

Weighting: 10%

Test Time, Date and Duration: The test will will run for 50 mins. It will commence online at 12pm on 2 April 2024, and submissions must be made by 12:50pm on 2 April 2024.

Word Limit: 500 words. This word limit will be strictly enforced. Submissions over 550 words will receive a mark of 0, and submissions over 500 words will incur a penalty of 10% of the grades available for the test. The word length must be calculated by the student using a word processing program applied to the text (which includes headings) and stated on the paper. Footnotes will not be counted, and substantive material (other than references and citations) in the footnotes will not be assessed.

Submission Requirement: All references should be compliant with referencing instructions stated in the assignment instructions. Footnotes should only be used for any direct quotations. Your submission must be made in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). PDF files will not be accepted.

Due Date, Late Submissions and Extensions: 12:50pm, 2 April 2024. Due to the nature of the task, late submissions will NOT be accepted. Leave plenty of time to submit prior to the cut off time.

If you experience extenuating circumstances and cannot attempt the assessment on the due date and time, you should apply for an extension here. The College will give you one final opportunity to complete the assessment, at the same time one week later. If you have already accessed the assessment, you will not be approved an extension and will need to complete the task by the due date.

Estimated Return Date: 15 May 2024

Assessment Criteria:

  • Make appropriate and accurate use of the reading materials covered in the class plan;
  • Clear and concise expression, and appropriate structure; 
  • Coverage of relevant issues that arise and, importantly, persuasiveness of the argument in response to the question posed; and 
  • Demonstrated understand of, and critical thinking applied to, the material covered in the Class Plan and the discussion in class during weeks 1-6 of the course.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 11/04/2024
Return of Assessment: 22/05/2024
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4

Law Reform Assignment

Details of Task: The assignment is designed to encourage develop your capacity to engage critically with an important current debate about the reform of Commonwealth Freedom of Information legislation. Students will be asked to read set reading and respond to a question. The task does not require extensive further research, though students are expected to undertake some further research and refer to 2 or 3 additional reputable sources for legal research in their answers. The assignment will test student's research skills by requiring them understand and synthesise complex legal information, identify high quality academic research material, and develop an illuminating and persuasive argument of their own. The assignment will assist students to fulfil the learning outcomes, with an emphasis on expected learning outcomes 2, 3 and 4.

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

Weighting: 20%

Release: By the end of Week 2.

Word Limit: 1200 words. This word limit will be strictly enforced. Submissions over 1300 words will receive a mark of 0, and submissions over 1200 words will incur a penalty of 10% of the grades available for the assignment. The word length must be calculated by the student using a word processing program applied to the text (which includes headings) and stated on the paper. Footnotes will not be counted, and substantive material (other than references and citations) in the footnotes will not be assessed.

Submission Requirement: All references should be compliant with 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: 5pm, 11 April 2024. Late submission (without an extension) is permitted, although late penalties will apply.

Estimated Return Date: 22 May 2024

Assessment Criteria:

  • Clear and concise expression, and appropriate structure; 
  • Persuasiveness of the argument in response to the question posed;
  • Accurate understanding of the legislation, principles and institutions which are discussed in the assignment;
  • Identification of appropriate research material; and
  • Demonstrated understanding of, and critical thinking applied to, the material covered covered in the reading prescribed for the task.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 70 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Final Examination

Details of Task: The final exam is designed not only to test knowledge of administrative law’s rules and principles but also to enable students to demonstrate how these rules and principles may be applied to legal problems. The problem section of the exam (worth 60% of the total marks available for the exam) will require students to demonstrate sound skills of legal interpretation and reasoning. The exam will also contain two ‘reflective/argumentative questions’ (worth 40% of the total marks available). These questions will be of a similar nature to those asked in the mid-semester test. These questions will be designed to test for deep understanding, for example, by asking: how particular concepts or ideas studied in the course relate one to another, for an explanation or evaluation of conclusions reached in particular cases, or for an explanation or illustration of the importance of a particular concept/principle/case. The focus will not be on the reproduction of information but on making a persuasive argument.

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

Weighting: 70% (or 60% where a student has opted to complete the 10% Optional Class Participation task, and it is to their benefit to count their grade for the Optional Class Participation task.)

Exam Time, Date and Duration: The exam will take place during the end-of-semester exam period. Students should consult the ANU Examination Timetable closer to the examination period to confirm the final time, date and duration of the examination. Because this is a formal examination, late submissions will not be accepted

If you experience extenuating circumstances and are unable to sit the examination at its scheduled time and date, you should submit an Extenuating Circumstances Application (ECA), via ISIS, within five working days of the original date of the examination. Your application will be processed by the Examinations Office. If it is approved, they will notify you, via email, of the details of your deferred examination which will be held during the first week of the following semester.

Estimated Return Date: Official end-of-semester results release date.

Assessment Criteria: 

  • Make relevant and persuasive arguments; 
  • Make accurate use of relevant legal material; 
  • Are well structured and clearly and concisely expressed; 
  • Address the issues raised in the problem questions and reason persuasively by reference to relevant legal rules and principles; and 
  • Demonstrate understanding of, and critical thinking on, material covered in the course. 

Assessment Task 5

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Optional Class Participation

Details of Task: The seminar (class) participation component is optional and will be assessed based on participation in seminars. Seminar preparation and participation throughout semester will prepare students well for all of the other assessment tasks.

Participation will be assessed based on contributions throughout the entire semester, but consideration will also be given to a student's contribution in their ‘on-deck’ week. To indicate a choice to receive a (redeemable) participation grade, students must sign-up to be ‘on-deck’ for a particular week. On-deck sign-up will be open on 5 February 2024 and remain open until 5pm on 01 March 2024. Approximately six students will be ‘on-deck’ in any given week and students will be able to sign-up to be on-deck in a particular week when seminar group enrolment opens and they have enrolled in a particular seminar group. There are very good reasons for students to sign-up to be on-deck early in semester, including week 1.

Students who are ‘on-deck’ should prepare so they are in a position to respond to questions and to actively participate in class discussion. However, this contribution is not intended to exclude the participation of others. Students are not expected to lead the discussion but to come to class ready to participate actively. Participation grades will be based on general contributions throughout the semester, along with ‘on-deck’ contributions.

Nature of Task: Optional and redeemable (ie the grade only counts if it is better than the student's final exam performance). Students who do not choose to sign up for seminar participation will have their final exam count for 70% of their grade.

Weighting: 10%

Assessment Criteria: Class participation marks will be awarded according to how well students: 

  • demonstrate thoughtful engagement with the readings being discussed in class;
  • are clear in their expression and make persuasive arguments;
  • contribute to fostering discussion;
  • encourage and respect others’ contributions;
  • make contributions of quality, rather than quantity.

Regular attendance is also an important aspect of this assessment task.

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 zero 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.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission is not guaranteed. Please ensure that you have reviewed your submission carefully before you submit.

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 Leighton McDonald

By Appointment

Brandon Smith

By Appointment

Charlotte Hoynes

By Appointment
AsPr Stephen Thomson

Research Interests

AsPr Stephen Thomson

By Appointment

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