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The unit introduces students to the study of public law within the sub-disciplines of constitutional and administrative law. Public law is also the foundation of a range of other disciplines of law including: criminal, human rights, environmental, international, immigration, taxation, corporations and industrial relations law.

The main theme of this unit is public law in contemporary practice; in particular how public law defines, constrains and empowers governmental action. Students will develop both a theoretical and practical understanding of the subject matter and participate in learning and assessment based on contemporary public law issues.

The course will be divided into inter-related parts:

  1. Introduction to Australian Public Law
  2. The Parliament
  3. The Executive
  4. The Judiciary

This unit will provide students with part of the necessary theory to complete a law degree in accordance with Law Admission requirements and is a prerequisite for the core administrative and constitutional law units as well as any public law elective units students may choose to undertake.

Summary 2021

Unit name Foundations of Public Law
Unit code LAW253
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Arts, Law and Education
Faculty of Law
Discipline Law

Anja Hilkemeijer

Teaching staff

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



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About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the functions, powers and limits on the powers of the three arms of government at all levels of government in Australia; a working knowledge of the theory underpinning constitutional, parliamentary and administrative law; the inter-operation of political conventions, foundational principles and assumptions, written constitutions, common law and statutory law in contemporary public law and administration.
  2. Critically analyse contemporary public law problems using the case method and present arguments in relation to the legal issues raised by those problems.
  3. Present persuasive legal argument on public law issues in writing and orally; to respond orally to questions about the nature of, and current issues in, Australian public.
  4. Reflect critically on their advocacy skills and lessons learned.




50 credit points of Introductory Law core or (LAW121 and LAW122)


Teaching Pattern

2-3 hours of lectures per week and a two (2) hour seminar per fortnight.


Task 1: Oral submissions, 2x 5 minutes (20%)

Task 2: Practice-based written tasks, 1500 words (20%)

Task 3: Tutorial participation (10%)

Task 4: Final Exam, 2 hours (50%)

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Gabrielle Appleby, et. al., Australian Public Law, Oxford University Press, 3rd edition, 2019.


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