UWA Handbook 2017

Unit details

LAWS4108 Foundations of Public Law

Credit 6 points
  Offering
(see Timetable)
AvailabilityLocationMode
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Content This unit examines the fundamental principles and concepts of Australian public law (including the role of international law) in historical and political context. It studies the three major institutions of Australian government, the parliament, the executive and the judiciary, at both state and Commonwealth levels, explaining their respective roles, their interrelationships and the constitutional documents which regulate and limit them. The unit explores the history of executive accountability and the rise of a 'fourth branch' of government responsible for integrity control and non-judicial review—focusing particularly in this regard on the role of freedom of information laws and ombudsman review. It also examines the 'standing' of individuals who wish to pursue public law grievances through the various established avenues of redress. The ability to communicate legal conclusions and opinions, as well as critical assessments of the state of public law, is assessed through a collaborative and structured advocacy exercise as well as through tutorial and examination performance.
Outcomes Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of the (a) fundamental concepts, principles and sources of public law; (b) role and nature of state and commonwealth government institutions and constitutional sources of authority; and (c) mechanisms for bringing governmental branches to account. Students show a developing understanding of the position of the Australian legal and constitutional system within the world legal order and compared and contrasted with other governmental frameworks and alternative government accountability mechanisms; and administrative and constitutional law concepts within their historical, political and social context. They also demonstrate an appreciation of constitutional reform mechanisms, the emergence of formal rights' protection and the evolution of public law practice; (2) recognise and critique the obligations attending public sector operations and the broader social, moral and political dynamics that accompany legal practice in this field; (3) apply principles of public law to a variety of factual situations and explain interrelationships and limitations of particular principles, available courses of action, legal trends and reform possibilities; generate and evaluate alternative responses to public law legal issues; and demonstrate cognitive and creative skills in addressing complex public law issues; (4) use legal research skills in developing a persuasive argument responding to a hypothetical public law problem; and (5) communicate, both orally and in writing, legal conclusions and opinions, evaluations of prospects in hypothetical scenarios, critical assessments of the state of the law, and ideas for reform.
Assessment Students demonstrate achievement of the outcomes in a variety of assessment methods including tutorial participation, an advocacy exercise and a final examination. Details of assessment are advised in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s) Dr Sarah Murray
Unit rules
Prerequisites: LAWS4101 Legal Process
Contact hours lectures: 3 hours per week; tutorials: 2 hours per fortnight
Unit Outlinehttp://www.unitoutlines.law.uwa.edu.au/Units/LAWS4108/SEM-2/2017

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