Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit examines the fundamental principles and concepts of law, legal institutions and government in Australia (including the role of international law) in historical and political context. It studies the principle sources of law in Australia and the key aspects of relevant areas of law. The unit explores some key theories and debates associated with law and legal institutions which provide context for policy processes.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours core unit in Law and Society [Bachelor of Arts (Honours)]
  • Honours option in Criminology [Bachelor of Arts (Honours)]

Students are able to (1) critically analyse the principles and sources of Australian law and the role and nature of state and commonwealth government institutions; (2) critically analyse the position of the Australian legal and constitutional systems and institutions within the world legal order; (3) apply principles of law and governance to a variety of factual situations, including available courses of action; (4) employ legal research skills, including the evaluation of relevant secondary sources, in developing a persuasive argument and responding to real and/or hypothetical legal problems; and (5) communicate evaluations and critical analysis of foundations of law and legal institutions both orally and in writing to address complex law and government issues.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) quizzes

; (2) research essay; and (3) class participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Claire Kaylock
Unit rules
Successful completion of
20820 Juris Doctor
or 21190 Bachelor of Laws
Advisable prior study
For Law and Society Honours students: LAWS1111 Law, Conflict and Change, LAWS2227 Law in Action.
LAWS3316 Law, Advocacy, Activism and Change
Contact hours
This unit is delivered intensively in 'flipped mode' and is offered twice a year.
10 online modules are to be completed in advance (opening two weeks before) of two face-to-face sessions which will run 22 and 23 February 2024 and 18-19 July 2024.
Students must attend the face-to-face sessions.
Students who completed a law degree based on the common law cannot take LAWS4227 Foundations of Law and Legal Institutions.
LAWS4227 Foundations of Law and Legal Institutions is a core for all students who have not completed a law degree or have not completed a law degree based on the common law.
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.