Faculty of Law

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedClayton Trimester 1 2012 (Day)
Clayton Term 3 2012 (Day)


For postgraduate Law discontinuation dates, please see http://www.law.monash.edu.au/current-students/postgraduate/pg-disc-dates.html


This unit is designed to provide international students, primarily those from civil law countries, with a general understanding of the nature and operation of common law systems, such as those found in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The study examines the origins and common attributes of common law systems, constitutional frameworks, sources and divisions of law, legal and related political institutions, the judiciary and the legal profession. Areas studied also include the nature and status of case law, the doctrine of precedent and the process of statutory interpretation.


On completion of this unit students should have:

  1. developed an understanding of the main legal and related political institutions in Australia and other major common law jurisdictions
  2. developed an understanding of the sources of law in common law jurisdictions and the interrelationship between case law and statute law
  3. become familiar with the structure and content of cases, including an understanding of the doctrine of precedent and the processes by which case law evolves
  4. developed an understanding of the main principles of statutory interpretation, an ability to interpret law and an understanding of the role of judges in interpreting legislation
  5. acquired an overall awareness of how common law legal systems operate to enhance and sustain constitutional democracies.


Research assignment (3,000 words): 40%
Take-home examination: 60%
Take-home examination: 100%

Chief examiner(s)

Mr Leighton Morris

Contact hours

Classes commence two weeks prior to the beginning of Semester 1 and Semester 2.
24 contact hours per semester (either intensive, semi-intensive or semester long, depending on the Faculty resources, timetabling and requirements)


LAW7212 Australian legal system