UWA Handbook 2017

Unit details

LAWS5378 Government Accountability—Law and Practice

Credit 6 points
(see Timetable)
Not available in 2017UWA (Perth)Face to face
Content Over recent decades there has been growth in government and an increasing diversification and complexity in government service provision. There has also been, for the most part, a concomitant rise in the number (and reach) of accountability agencies, so much so that some commentators now talk of the emergence of a fourth branch of government, the ‘integrity branch', to sit alongside of the executive, legislature and judiciary. These accountability agencies have responsibility for overseeing, investigating and educating the public sector in relation to matters such as corruption, misconduct, good decision making, and avoiding conflicts of interest. Such agencies play a vital role. Governments make decisions on a daily basis that directly shape many aspects of individual and corporate existence. With such regulation comes the need for transparency, responsibility and accountability. In the words of former Commonwealth Ombudsman Professor John McMillan, "In short, the power of government is pervasive, and accountability is an indispensable check on how that power is exercised."
Outcomes Students are able to (1) understand the 'integrity' framework of government and the role of relevant agencies—particularly mechanisms relating to government accountability, transparency, integrity and review, and arrangements in place for the prevention of maladministration, inefficient and ineffective policy design and delivery, and corruption; (2) understand the historical, political and social context for the development of the contemporary accountability framework; (3) explain the various models of government accountability and critically assess the effectiveness, costs and benefits of these models; (4) apply the law and theory learned to a range of case scenarios and explore possibilities for further development and reform of government accountability mechanisms; and (5) effectively locate and use key resources in the relevant areas of administrative law, including particularly the 'new' administrative law and the law underpinning government accountability.
Assessment Students demonstrate achievement of the outcomes in a variety of assessment exercises including an assignment. Details of assessment are advised in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s) Adjunct Professor Simon Young and Adjunct Professor Chris Field (WA Ombudsman)
Unit rules
Advisable prior study: LAWS3385 Administrative Law I, and LAWS3386 Administrative Law II; or equivalent
Contact hours offered intensively
Note Teaching dates for this unit are as follows: 28–29 January and 1–3 February 2016. Please refer to the timetable website for session times and venues. Attendance at all sessions is mandatory.

Creyke, R. and McMillan, J. Control of Government Action: Text, Cases and Commentary, 3rd edn: LexisNexis Butterworths 2012 (or latest edition) (casebook)

Lane, W. B. and Young, S. Administrative Law in Australia: Thomson Lawbook Co. 2007 (new additiona out late 2015)

Douglas, R., and Head, M. Douglas and Jones's Administrative Law, 7th edn: Federation Press 2009 (or latest edition)

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