Studying online

There are now 3 possible online modes for units:

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

Units available in Online Restricted mode have been adapted for online study only for those students who require the unit to complete their studies and who are unable to attend campus due to COVID border closures. To be enrolled in a unit in Online Restricted mode, students should contact their Student Advising Office through askUWA and include which of the below criteria applies:

  • You are a student who is currently offshore and unable to enter Australia.
  • You are a student in Australia who is impacted by state or regional border closures.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

LAWS5378 Government Accountability—Law and Practice

6 points
Not available in 2021UWA (Perth)Face to face
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."
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.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) participation; (2) literature review; and (3) assignment. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a Juris Doctor student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course
Unit Coordinator(s)
Adjunct Professor Simon Young and Adjunct Professor Chris Field (WA Ombudsman)
Unit rules
For Master of Public Policy or Graduate Certificate of Public Policy students without a recognised Law degree: LAWS4227 Foundations of Law and Legal Institutions.
Advisable prior study:
LAWS5102 Administrative Law
Contact hours
Teaching dates for this unit are 29-31 Jan and 3-4 Feb. Please refer to the timetable website for session times and venues. Attendance at all sessions is mandatory.
Creyke, R &
McMillan, J 2015,
Control of
Action: Text,
Cases and
Commentary, 4th
edn, LexisNexis
Chatswood, New
South Wales (or
later edition).
Bannister J,
Appleby, G,
Olijnyk, A &
Howe, J 2014,
Law, Cambridge
University Press,
Port Melbourne,
Victoria (or
Groves, M (ed)
2014, Modern
Law in Australia:
Concepts and
University Press,
Port Melbourne,
Lane, WB &
Young, S 2007,
law in Australia,
Thomson Reuters,
Sydney, New South
Wales (or later
R. and Head,
M. Douglas
and Jones's
, 7th
edn: Federation
Press 2014 (or
later edition)
  • 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.