Faculty of Law

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 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.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedNot offered in 2015


Both the structure of government and human rights guarantees - in constitutions of the Western liberal-democratic tradition - will be considered. Structure-of-government topics may include the design and function of legislatures and their component Houses; heads of state; federal division of powers; judicial power and constitutional Courts. Rights provisions to be considered will be selected from traditionally protected rights such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The dialogue model of rights protection pioneered in Canada will also be considered. In conclusion, attention will be devoted to the approaches to constitutional interpretation manifested by various Courts: to what extent should they strive to be loyal to the text and/or the founders' intentions?


Upon completion of this unit, students should:

  1. have a general understanding of the constitutional law and statutory framework that operate in the various countries of the Western liberal-democratic tradition;
  2. possess an understanding of the various alternatives in institutional design of principal constitutional organs, and the advantages and disadvantages of each;
  3. understand and be able to assess, in their societal contexts, the approaches to federalism in constitutions and court decisions from selected federal countries of the world;
  4. have specific understanding of the particular rights studied, and the framework for protection established under the relevant constitutional systems;
  5. be able to identify or find the relevant principles, laws and precedents and apply them to resolve issues relating to breaches of individual rights and freedoms;
  6. be in a position to assess the merits and demerits of the approach to the protection of human rights pioneered in Canada and copied in Victoria;
  7. have further developed legal research and writing, and legal argument skills by undertaking systematic research into legal policy, rules and procedures and comparative perspectives relating to constitutional law and individual rights
  8. have developed skills of oral presentation of legal policy, rules and argument in an interactive learning context;
  9. be able to identify and assess the broad strands in constitutional interpretation used by Courts within the Western liberal-democratic tradition.


1. Short paper (1,000 words): 20%
2. Take-home exam (3,000 words): 60%
3. Participation: 10%
4. Presentation: 10%

Workload requirements

Students are required to attend 36 hours of lectures over the duration of this semi-intensive unit.

The unit timetable link below is not applicable to this unit.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


LAW1100 OR LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104; LAW3200 or LAW3201