• Class Number 3834
  • Term Code 3430
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 12 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Jolyon Ford
  • 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
SELT Survey Results

A research paper may be taken as part of a Juris Doctor, Master of Laws, Master of Financial Management and Law or the Master of International Law and Diplomacy program. The course is worth 12 units and involves the completion of a 12,000-16,000 word research thesis that will take the place of two standard courses. Students will organise supervisors according to the published supervised allocation process that is required in the semester before the commencement of the Graduate Research Paper.


The research project is designed to build upon previous foundational and elective courses and allow students to develop cutting-edge legal research under the supervision of a member of staff.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Apply advanced specialised knowledge and research skills to undertake an in-depth, critical analysis with respect to the area of law relevant to the topic;
  2. Identify, analyse and reflect upon a complex body of knowledge in the area of law relevant to the topic;
  3. Critically reflect upon and synthesise complex information, issues, concepts and theories as they apply in the area of law relevant to the topic chosen;
  4. Apply advanced knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgement, adaptability and responsibility as a researcher.

Required Resources

Australian Guide to Legal Citation (Melbourne University Law Review Association Inc, 4th ed, 2018) available at: http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/mulr/aglc

See Reading Guide available on WATTLE for bibliography and resources.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments

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 The times and dates for the following sessions will be announced on the course WATTLE page.
  1. [To be notified] (Week 2) - Welcome to the course and a discussion of course expectations and how we will support you in the writing of your research paper;
  2. [To be notified] (Week 3) - Research skills tutorial with guest academics;
  3. [To be notified] (Week 4) - Tips for writing your thesis;
  4. [To be notified] (Week 8) - Progress check in concerning your paper.

In addition to these classes, you should be meeting with your Supervisor on a regular basis during semester. Early in the process you should agree on some mutual expectations about regularity and forms of contact.

Tutorial Registration

Not applicable.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Confirmation of Research Topic 0 % 28/03/2024 1,2,3,4
Submission of Full Draft to the Supervisor 0 % 02/05/2024 1,2,3,4
Library Submission Form 0 % 06/06/2024
Final Research Paper 100 % 06/06/2024 1,2,3,4

* 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.


Graduate Research Unit students are expected to devote, at the very least, the equivalent of half of a normal working week to the research and writing of their research paper. Therefore, it may be advisable that some considerable progress has been made in background reading and preparation before the commencement of semester. Most students (and academics) find that legal research and writing is much more time-consuming than expected. Therefore, it is highly recommended that students reflect upon their other time commitments and make any changes necessary to accommodate the work required for this course.


There is no final examination for this course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 28/03/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Confirmation of Research Topic

Details of Task: Completion of this form (available on Wattle) is to consolidate your work to date on your research paper. You will need to provide a working title for your research paper and confirm the research area and topic for your paper. You should be trying at very least to have framed this as a research question by this stage.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to complete the task may put at risk your eligibility to progress in the course.

Weighting: 0%

Release: The 'confirmation of research topic form' will be available on the course Wattle site.

Word Limit: N/A

Due Date: 5pm, Thursday 28 March 2024 (Week 6) via Wattle. Late submission is permitted by arrangement directly with the Convenor. Formal extension application with the College is not required.

Estimated Return Date: The Convenor will confirm having read and accepted the 'confirmation of research topic form' with any appropriate comment by 5pm, Thursday 18 April 2024 (Week 7). Note that the convenor's role is not to give substantive feedback on your project design. This is your supervisor's role.

Assessment Criteria: You will need to provide a working title for your research paper and confirm the research area and topic for your paper.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 02/05/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Submission of Full Draft to the Supervisor

Details of Task: Submit the first full draft to allow your supervisor to read and comment on your research. In your discussions with your supervisor, you should come to an understanding of what 'full' draft comprises in your case, to meet your mutual expectations of each other.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to submit a full draft to your supervisor by this date may mean that you will not receive supervisor feedback on your draft before the required date for final submission.

Weighting: 0%

Word Limit: Between 12,000 and 16,000 words (including footnotes). Footnotes should be used for referencing of sources. All references should be in the style required by 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: 5pm, Thursday 2 May 2024 (Week 9), to the supervisor, via a method negotiated with the supervisor. If you are not able to meet this deadline this should be raised with your supervisor and a new due date for this task negotiated.

Estimated Return Date: As negotiated with your supervisor. All feedback from your supervisor on your research paper will be provided by the end of Week 12 (end of semester) unless agreed otherwise between you.

Assessment Criteria: The same criteria as for the research paper (see below Assessment Task 4)

Assessment Task 3

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 06/06/2024
Learning Outcomes: 

Library Submission Form

Details of Task: Please note that all students are required to complete the Library Submission Form at the same time as you submit your assessment. For GRU papers that receive a high distinction of 90+, a copy is printed and bound at the College’s expense. The copy is then given to the Law Library and the library submission form is required for that purpose.

Nature of Task: Compulsory. 

Weighting: 0%

Due Date: 5pm, Thursday 6 June 2024 via WATTLE.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 100 %
Due Date: 06/06/2024
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Final Research Paper

Details of Task: Submission of the full and finalised research paper.  

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

Weighting: 100%

Word Limit: Between 12,000 and 16,000 words (including footnotes). Footnotes should be used for referencing of sources. All references should be in the style required by 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: 5pm, Thursday 6 June 2024 via Turnitin. Late submission (without an extension) is permitted, although late penalties will apply. Please be mindful that if you are in your final semester, late submissions will have an impact on your eligibility to graduate on time.

Estimated Return Date: Official end of semester results release date via Turnitin. Examiners report/s will be emailed to students by the ANU College of Law Student and Services Team after this day.

Other Requirements:

SubmissionWe do not require hard copies of the research paper. We accept only electronic copies of the research paper that must be submitted to Turnitin on Wattle. The electronic copy must be in a word processing file format (.doc, .docx). Electronic copies in .pdf file format are not acceptable.

Library Copy: the research paper written by the student who is awarded the Blackburn Medal will be held by the Law Library.  

Word Count: The research paper must record the total word count on the cover page of the research paper. It is not necessary to put a word count on each individual page. The electronic copy may be checked for word length compliance.   

Method for calculating word count:

  • the word count includes headings and footnotes;
  • the word count does not include the cover page, table of contents, acknowledgments and bibliography;
  • the total word count must be calculated by the student using a word processing program applied to the text (including footnotes) and the total word count for the thesis must be recorded on the cover page of the thesis;
  • appendices will be treated as part of the text unless they merely reproduce primary materials for the aid of examiners. It is recommended that appendices are not used for supervised research papers.

Presentation: The text of the research paper must be size 12 font and double spaced.  

Cover Page: The cover page should include the title of the paper and the author's student number only (Do not include your name). You are permitted – but certainly not required – to add artwork or vary the format of the cover page. A sample cover page is available from the course Wattle site.    

Bibliography: You must include a bibliography. A bibliography provides a list of sources or references used in the research for the paper (i.e. not just sources used in the text of the paper). In addition, it may be appropriate to include in the 'Introduction' a description of the sources and research methodology (eg "British and Canadian as well as Australian case law was surveyed, as were parliamentary debates and newspaper reports for public discussion of the relevant legislation. Annual reports of the Commission for Legal Research and Writing were a valuable source on implementation of the legislative standards"). The bibliography is not included in the word count.  

Assessment Criteria: The ANU College of Law Guidelines on Supervision and Examination of the Supervised Research Paper set out the examination process. The assessment criteria are set out below. Two examiners are appointed for each thesis, one of whom is the supervisor. Students should be aware that either or both examiners may not be an expert in the legal area of the thesis. With that in mind, the thesis should be written for a legally trained generalist not a specialist audience. Students are entitled to know the names of their examiners and may contact the Course Convenor for this information. Examiners must consider and comment on the following matters, the importance of which will vary depending on the type of research paper, in addition to any other comments they may wish to make:

  • quality of the arguments and reasoning (how persuasive was the thesis?);
  • depth and breadth of research and range of research methods used;
  • degree of difficulty in the topic and/or research methods used;
  • degree of originality of the thesis and/or whether the thesis makes a useful contribution, and in what ways;
  • structure and organisation of the thesis;
  • consistency and accuracy of referencing and citations;
  • literary style (including accuracy of spelling and grammar).

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. You must ensure that you upload the correct document on the specified submission due date and time. Any document modified after the due date and time will either incur a late penalty or will NOT be accepted. 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 online 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 Jolyon Ford

By Appointment

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