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LAW5118 - Pacific comparative law 506

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Law


Not offered in 2007


Comparative study of the societies, constitutions and legal systems of Pacific states including Australia. Comparative/interdisciplinary approaches to the study of law. Themes include 'Government': traditional political systems, colonial imprint, sovereignty and dependency, constitutional models, overthrow of government, court systems, techniques for checking power; 'Legal pluralism': sources of law, customary law, common law, recognition of indigenous law, ethnic difference, human rights, dispute resolution; 'Property': early concepts, recognition of land rights, natural resources, regulation of commerce and investment; 'Regional issues': environment, fisheries, treaties.


Students successfully completing this unit should

  1. have a basic understanding of the nature, history and development of the diverse societies and politico-legal systems of Australia's Pacific Island neighbours;
  2. be able to define and distinguish local and introduced sources of law, legal institutions and forms of political organisation, and to explain how, in different ways, indigenous and imported concepts have been adapted to meet perceived needs of the modern state;
  3. have an understanding of how states are created and less-than-independent relationships are established and justified;
  4. have some appreciation of the relevance for Australia of contemporary studies in such areas as the recognition of legal pluralism, forms of government, constitutional change and regional law;
  5. have developed competence in comparative techniques and have acquired interdisciplinary perspectives which will have broadened and deepened their understanding of the nature of law, its functioning in society and the legal principles studied elsewhere in the curriculum; and
  6. have enhanced their skills in legal and interdisciplinary research, critical analysis and the presentation of research and argument, orally and in writing.


Class test (50 minutes): 10%
Work-in-progress presentation: 10%
Research paper (5000-6000 words): 80%

Contact hours

Three hours of lectures per week


LAW1100 or LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104