• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

'Universities serve to make students think: to resolve problems by argument supported by evidence; not to be dismayed by complexity, but bold in unravelling it'.  (What are universities for? by Geoffrey Boulton and Colin Lucas).   This course takes up this challenge by offering latter year students from any part of the ANU the opportunity to explore a series of complex issues. The connections between economic, historical, social, legal, scientific, engineering and environmental and moral dimensions of complex problems will be explored.    

The course will examine the behaviour of complex problems.  Case studies will include the collapse of empires, contemporary development, health and environmental issues, engineering and network failures and the moral and legal dimensions of all these issues.  

The course will encourage students to share their existing disciplinary perspectives to develop deep understandings of how to go about effective team based approaches to unravelling complex issues.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify and generalise archetypical behaviours in complex problems;
  2. Provide and situate legal perspectives and methodologies in an interdisciplinary team;
  3. Analyse and construct arguments from multiple perspectives, supported by evidence and with intellectual independence;
  4. Reflect critically on theory from the course by connecting personal experiences and/or real-world situations;
  5. Design, research and defend a learning portfolio unravelling a complex legal issue.

Other Information

This course requires an application, as positions are strictly limited. Please apply online at http://vc-courses.anu.edu.au/uc . Successful applicants will be provided with a permission code from the Law School.” As this is a later year, interdisciplinary course, students need to have a credit average in law.

Law students undertaking LAWS4001 must apply the course themes to a complex issue that has a strong legal basis in their Learning Portfolio.

Law students should also ensure that they are enrolled in LAWS4001 in ISIS for it to count as a law elective, as retrospective transfers are not possible.

Indicative Assessment

  1. - Peer-reviewed Individual Learning Portfolio that unravels a complex problem (50%) (50) [LO null]
  2. - Interdisciplinary Group Project that distills and navigates a complex issue (30%) (30) [LO null]
  3. - Tutorial Co-Facilitation during semester (20%) (20) [LO null]

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.


Four hours contact a week, made up of a 2-hour seminar (highly recommended) and a 2-hour tutorial (compulsory). In addition, a 1-hour workshop (compulsory) is held the week before your tutorial co-facilitation. Approximately six hours independent learning a week is required to engage in the course content.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Bachelor of Laws (ALLB, BLLBA) or Juris Doctor (MJD) and have completed 72 units of LAWS courses. An application process exists for this course.

You will need to contact the ANU Law School to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts

Please refer to WATTLE site


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and 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). You can find your student contribution amount for each course 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
2021 $4170
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5580
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

There are no current offerings for this course.

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