Introduction to the Australian Legal System and Legal Methods - 2016

To enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into a course from the provider. Read before you start

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Postgraduate
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Web Dependent
  • Prerequisites: No
  • Duration: 12 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: Sess 1 , Sess 2
  • Availability for 2017: Sess 1 , Sess 2
  • Assessment: Assignment - Research task (20%) , Essay - Statutory Interpretation Task (30%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 4,080.00

This unit introduces you to the Australian legal system, and a number of foundational legal skills. At the conclusion of this unit, you will have a solid understanding of the Australian legal system. You will be able to understand the historical, doctrinal and philosophical perspectives that have influenced the development of law and critically compare and assess key theoretical positions and interdisciplinary movements that provide critique and commentary on the role and practice of law. Topics which will be covered include:

  • The Constitutional Framework
  • Sources of Law – Legislation and Case-law
  • Statutory Interpretation;
  • Legal Institutions and Processes
  • Legal Theory;
  • Legal Research, Legal Analysis, and
  • Law in Practice

This unit is taught entirely on campus in Melbourne over 3 non-consecutive weekends. Attendance at all three weekends is compulsory.

Session 1:

  • Fri 4 – Sun 6 March
  • Sat 9 – Sun 10 April
  • Sat 7 – Sun 8 May

Session 2:

  • Fri 22 – Sun 24 July
  • Sat 20 – Sun 21 August
  • Sat 17 – Sun 18 September

Times: Fridays: 2pm -8:30pm; Saturday & Sundays: 9:30am - 4:30pm

Upon successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an integrated unders tanding of the sources of Australian law; how laws are made, developed and applied (both common law and statute); and the ways in which institutions administer those laws;
  2. critically evaluate aspects of the Australian legal system and identify areas of law reform;
  3. analyse and research problems relating to the doctrine of precedent and rules of statutory interpretation and make reasoned and appropriate choices amongst alternatives;
  4. demonstrate cognitive and creative skills in approaching foundational legal issues and legal rules, and generate appropriate responses;
  5. demonstrate the intellectual and practical skills needed to justify and interpret theoretical propositions, legal methodologies, conclusions and professional decisions and identify, research, evaluate and synthesise relevant factual, legal and policy issues using legislation, case law and secondary source materials;
  6. demonstrate self-management skills in a professional context.
  • Assignment — Research task (20%)
  • Essay — Statutory Interpretation Task (30%)
  • Open Book Invigilated Exam (50%)
For more information on invigilated exams see Exams and results

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

  • Broadband access
  • Some on campus attendance — You will be required to attend on campus classes over 3 non-consecutive weekends during the semester. Attendance at these weekend classes is compulsory.

In order to enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into one of the following courses:

Please visit the course details page and read the Requirements tab for more information about eligibility.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Classification of law
2Introduction to Finding the Law ¿ Research Skills Class
3Development of Australian Legal System, Constitution and Sources of Australian Legislation
4Common Law, Precedent & Judicial Decision-Making
5What is a Lawyer?
6Legal Problem Solving and Legal Writing
7Legislation and Statutory Interpretation
8Overview of legal history
9Court Systems
10Law Exam Techniques & Revision

Each unit offered through OUA provides students with unit information that includes assessment topics and due dates, policy information and contact numbers for university support and academic staff. Study materials will also clearly outline each week's topic, readings, student activities and the format of all assessment.

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

  • Laying Down the Law (9th ed) + Concise Australian Legal

    By:Cook, Finkelstein et al

    ISBN: 9780000939876


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

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