LAW4112 - Advanced constitutional law - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


This unit focuses on issues in Australian constitutional law that are not covered in depth in either Principles of Public Law and Statutory Interpretation (LAW1112), or Constitutional Law (LAW 3201). Issues will be selected for examination depending on their current theoretical or practical importance. Examples include methods of constitutional interpretation (including tensions between the framers' original intentions and contemporary values); the nature of implications drawn from the Constitution; express constitutional rights (trial by jury and freedom of religion); compulsory acquisition of property; the separation of powers as source of implied rights; the "races power"; the defence power both in war and peace; parliamentary privilege; and the process of constitutional amendment. Other issues that acquire public prominence from time to time, such as proposals for constitutional amendment, may also be examined. Comparisons with the constitutional law of other jurisdictions will be considered where appropriate.


At the successful completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the nature of constitutional law and constitutional interpretation in Australia, and especially its fundamental constitutional principles;
  2. Demonstrate the intellectual and practical skills needed in the complex process of constitutional interpretation.
  3. Articulate and critically examine contemporary issues relating to the Australian constitutional system;
  4. Demonstrate an advanced ability to evaluate the role and functioning of the High Court in contemporary Australian society, and its relationship with the elected branches of government;


Class participation 10%; research assignment (2000 words) 40%; final examination (2 hours plus 30 minutes reading and noting time) 50%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. The unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later:

LAW1111; LAW1114; LAW1112; LAW1113; LAW2101; LAW2102; LAW2111

For students who commenced their LLB course prior to 2015: LAW1100 OR LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104; LAW3200 OR LAW3201


For students who commenced their LLB (Hons) course in 2015 or later: LAW3111; LAW3112