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LAW7333 - Comparative bills of rights

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Law

Leader: Dr Angela Ward, Mr Rabinder Singh QC


City Term 3 2007 (On-campus)


In recent years, we have witnessed increased public debate about the status of governmental guarantees of civil and other human rights. In the context of international focus on the "war on terror", there is widespread concern about the possibility of infringement of civil liberties by governments and third parties alike. This debate is particularly relevant in Australia, which is alone amongst comparable common law jurisdictions in its lack of a bill of rights. In 2005, the Victorian State government followed the lead of the ACT, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in proposing the introduction of a State Charter of Rights and Responsibilities, intended to be enacted in 2006.


On completion of this unit students should:

  1. have a sound understanding of the content of and case law under the domestic bills of rights in the ACT and Victoria;
  2. have the ability to compare the implementation of bills of rights in Australia with those of other countries, particularly the UK and New Zealand;
  3. have a sound understanding of the history and processes behind the "Europeanisation" of United Kingdom human rights law, and its relationship with common law protection;
  4. understand in detail the technique of incorporation of the European Convention of Human Rights under the United Kingdom law Human Rights Act 1998 (UK), and its place in the United Kingdom Constitution;
  5. understand the human rights jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, and how it is applied under United Kingdom law;
  6. assess the extent to which, in key substantive fields, Australian and United Kingdom human rights law have come to diverge due to the influence of "Europe" on the latter. Particular reference will be made to the Human Rights Act 2004 (ACT), and the Victorian Charter of Rights and Responsibilities;
  7. understand how the Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZ) has secured the implementation of the ICCPR under New Zealand law;
  8. understand the extent to which the Bill of Rights Act 1990 (NZ) has impacted on New Zealand public law, with a particular emphasis on remedies and the principle of proportionality;
  9. have an understanding of the protection of fundamental rights under the Constitution of South Africa, and under South African administrative law, with particular reference to the influence of international human rights treaties under South African public law;
  10. be able to identify or find the relevant principles, laws and precedents and apply them to resolve issues relating to bills of rights;
  11. further develop legal research, writing, and legal argument skills in the area of bills of rights; and
  12. further develop oral articulation of legal argument during class discussions.


Research Paper (7500 words) 100% OR

Research Paper (3750 words) 50% AND
Take Home Exam (3750 words) 50%