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Handbooks Courses Units

LAW7093 - Judicial law making and legal theory

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Law

Leader: Professor Jeff Goldsworthy


Not offered in 2008


Recent developments in the Australian judiciary's conception of its constitutional role, the new emphasis on "fundamental principles" and individual rights; an analysis of these developments from the perspectives of contemporary philosophies of law and adjudication; the nature of interpretation of legal texts; recent judicial and scholarly challenges to the historical and philosophical credentials of the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty; tensions in the administration of law - the nature and value of the Rule of Law, and its relationship with judicial law-making; institutional capacities of judges as effective law-makers


Upon successful completion of this subject students should possess a sophisticated understanding of

  1. recent developments in the judiciary's conception of its constitutional role, and its effects on changes in legal doctrine;
  2. how these developments are analysed and evaluated by the leading contemporary philosophies of law;
  3. differences between common law, statute law and constitutional law which are relevant to the constitutional role of the judiciary;
  4. ambiguities in the notion of the 'rule of law', as it pertains to judges. Students should also have improved their ability to
    1. engage in the theoretical analysis of legal concepts at a deep level;
    2. confidently participate in argument in the context of an interactive seminar;
    3. clearly and persuasively present ideas and argument in written form.


Research assignment (3750 words): 50%
Class participation: 10%
Take home examination (3000 words): 40%

Contact hours

One 2-hour seminar per week

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