LAW4676 - Judgment and decision-making - 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



  • Term 2 2017 (Day)


"Judgment and Decision-Making" explores the principles of human perception, judgment and decision-making that underpin the legal system. Students learn about the heuristics and shortcuts that people use to arrive at judgments and decisions, and the possible biasing effects this has on lawyers, juries, eye-witnesses, and judges. The course challenges students to discover best approaches to advocacy, when voluminous information must be presented to triers of fact. It highlights creative opportunities for evidence, in any matter of law that depends on what members of the relevant population think, believe, or intend to do. Classes are designed to foster high quality discussion and analysis providing an environment conducive to peer interaction and feedback with an emphasis on formative activities.


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

  1. Understand and critically evaluate the principles of human perception, judgment and decision-making used in the legal system;
  2. Demonstrate cognitive and creative skills in comprehending and articulating the heuristics and shortcuts used to arrive at judgments and decisions, and the possible biasing effects on lawyers, juries, eye-witnesses and judges;
  3. Apply these insights to communicate effectively, appropriately and persuasively on issues relating to best approaches to advocacy; and
  4. Provide and make use of feedback to assess their own capabilities and performance and to support personal and professional development.


Attendance requirement: students who fail to attend at least 80% of the classes in this unit (ie who miss 3 or more classes) will receive a result of 0 N for the unit. Students who are unable to meet this requirement due to severe illness or other exceptional circumstances must make an application for in-semester special consideration with supporting documentation.

  1. Seminar paper/case analysis (1000 words): 20%
  2. Take-home examination (4000 words): 80%

Workload requirements

Students will be required to attend 36 hours of seminars, and undertake approximately an additional 108 hours of private study, including reading, class preparation and revision time over the duration of the unit.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


For students who commenced their LLB course prior to 2015:

LAW1101 Introduction to legal reasoning and LAW1104 Research and writing.

For students enrolled in the LLB (Honours) course from 2015:

LAW1111 Foundations of law, LAW1112 Public law and statutory interpretation, LAW1113 Torts, LAW1114 Criminal law 1, LAW2101 Contract A, LAW2102 Contract B, LAW2111 Constitutional law and LAW2112 Property A.

For other students:

Equivalent introductory units from another university.