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LAW4112 - Current problems in constitutional law 406

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Law

Leader: Semester Two: Professor HP Lee


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


The course focuses on selected contemporary problems in Australian constitutional law, with a comparative dimension where appropriate. Topics include in-depth analysis of the current status of the implied freedom of political communication and its outer limits; separation of judicial power doctrine as a new springboard for implied rights, with emphasis on the principle in Kable; the 'proportionality' doctrine in constitutional adjudication; the defence power and the 'stream cannot rise above the source' doctrine in the 'war on terror' context; a comparative study of constitutionalised emergency powers; the High Court appointments and removal of justices, its role, methods and techniques.


On completion of this unit students should

  1. have extended their basic understanding of Australian constitutional principles;
  2. have acquired an appreciation of contemporary issues relating to the constitutional system;
  3. be able to evaluate critically the role and functioning of the High Court in contemporary Australian society; and
  4. have developed a greater appreciation of the complex task of constitutional interpretation, with particular emphasis on fundamental doctrines.


Research assignment (4000 words): 50%
Examination (2 hours
30 minutes reading time): 50%

Contact hours

Three hours of lectures per week


LAW1100 or LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104; LAW3200/LAW3201