Courses & Units

Foundations of Public Law LAW253



Compulsory core unit for students in new Law degrees, which were introduced in 2013, with course codes: 63I, 63J, 63K, 63L, 63M, 63N, 63O and 63P. Also degrees commencing 2014 63Q and 63R.

From 2013, students in courses 63A, 63C, 63D, 63E, 63F, 63G, 63H, and all L3-coded degrees, who have not passed LAW205 must substitute LAW253.



The unit aims to introduce students to the study of Public Law and to introduce major themes and ideas which are relevant to both Constitutional Law and Administrative Law. Major themes running through the course will be the use of the law to control the exercise of government power and methods, legal and other, used to ensure governments are accountable for the exercise of power. The course will be divided into 4 related modules:

Module 1. Introduction to the "Ausminster system"

- History

- Sources - Political and legal theory; Constitutional documents, legislation; International Law

- Conventions

- Separation of powers / rule of law etc

- Responsible Government

- Sovereignty- popular and indigenous

- The federal system (flows into module 2)

Module 2. The Parliament and the people

- State Parliaments

- Commonwealth Parliament - interpretation and characterisation

- Delegation of legislative power (flowing into module 3)

Module 3. Executive Power

- Role / functions

- Prerogatives

- Control over legislative branch? (parties/whips / cabinet)

- Limitations on executive power (flows into module 4)

- The Administrative State - Administrative Law and Administrative Systems

Module 4 Scrutiny of public institutions

- Executive review systems (ICACs / Integrity commissions / FOI)

- Parliamentary review (scrutiny committees / legislative committees)

- Judicial review

- Protecting the judicial branch from interference

- How the judicial branch interprets public law (flows into Constitutional Law and Administrative Law.)

The course will also demonstrate the practical applications of public law as they arise in litigation. The unit has a strong emphasis on the study of leading High Court cases and aims to develop student abilities to analyse these cases. Assessment will be based upon students' practical - especially advocacy based - application of the theoretical principles taught in cases.


Unit name Foundations of Public Law
Unit code LAW253
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School Faculty of Law
School of Law
Discipline School of Law
Teaching staff

Ms A Hilkemeijer

Level Intermediate
Available as student elective? No
Breadth Unit? No


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 1 On-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 1 23/2/2015 23/3/2015 13/4/2015 29/5/2015

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2015 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2015 will be available from the 1st October 2014.

About Census Dates



Band CSP Student Contribution Full Fee Paying (domestic) Field of Education
3 2015: $1,283.00 2015: $1,486.00 090900

Fees for next year will be published in October. The fees above only apply for the year shown.

Please note: international students should refer to this page to get an indicative course cost.


  • Pre-requisites: LAW121 and LAW122 and completion of first year in another degree, or a bachelor degree;
  • Co-requisites:  LAW255.


Teaching Pattern

3 lectures and one two (2) hour seminar per fortnight.


Exam 50%; seminar written submissions 20%*, seminar oral submissions 20%; seminar participation 10%.

* Please note the course assessment is reliant on MyLo (online learning system). Students must be IT literate and have access to the internet for assessment purposes.

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable


Booktopia textbook links

The University reserves the right to amend or remove courses and unit availabilities, as appropriate.