Faculty of Law

Monash University

Postgraduate - 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


Quota applies

The unit can be taken by a maximum of 45 students (due to limited facilities and method of teaching).


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?


On completion of this subject, students will be able to:

  1. apply knowledge and understanding of the constitutional law and statutory framework operating in selected countries of the Western liberal-democratic tradition, with creativity and initiative to new situations for further learning;
  2. investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories in relation to the institutional design of principal constitutional organs, and the advantages and disadvantages of various alternatives;
  3. conduct research into the approaches to federalism in constitutions and court decisions from selected federal countries of the world based on knowledge of appropriate research principles and methods; and
  4. use cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate at an abstract level complex ideas and concepts relevant to the framework for protection established under the relevant constitutional systems.


Presentation: 10%
Participation: 10%
Short paper (1,500 words): 20%
One take-home examination: 60%

Workload requirements

Students enrolled in this unit will be provided with 36 contact hours of seminars per semester whether intensive, semi-intensive, or semester-long offering. Students will be expected to do reading set for class, and to undertake additional research and reading applicable to a 6 credit point unit.

Chief examiner(s)


LAW5007 Principles of constitutional law or its equivalent