LAW4686 - Contemporary issues in public policy, regulation and the law - 2018

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.



Chief examiner(s)

Graeme Hodge

Unit guides



  • Term 2 2018 (On-campus block of classes)


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

LAW1111; LAW1114; LAW1112; LAW1113; LAW2101; LAW2102; LAW2112; LAW2111

For students who commenced their LLB course prior to 2015:

LAW1100 OR LAW1101 and LAW1102 or LAW1104




Over the past century, citizens have progressively sought a more civilized and less risky world as well as a stronger economy. As capitalism has deepened, so has regulation grown. Society now appears more concerned than ever about risks, and this leaves governments facing new challenges when making laws and formulating public policies. Many contemporary policy issues exist, such as better regulating finance; ethical food production, enabling a free yet accountable media, controlling 3D printed guns or living with automated road vehicles. All challenge the modern state and its law. Students explore how the concept of 'regulation' has expanded beyond the traditional legal notion of rules promulgated by a sovereign state, to include all tools aiming to alter or control the behaviour of people and other entities. Using case studies from the United States, Australia and Europe, a comparative perspective engages students in critical discussion, analysis and debate on contemporary issues. Students examine theories, concepts and constructs in modern liberal capitalist societies. They also acknowledge the limitations of various traditional hard and soft regulatory regimes as we investigate the function of law in pursuing public policy goals.


On completion of this unit, a student should be able to:

  1. Research evaluate and synthesize relevant contemporary domestic and international issues in public policy and regulation.
  2. Understand, appraise and practically apply knowledge of the historical context of public policy, regulatory activities and recent developments in these areas to current controversies in regulation.
  3. Investigate, analyze and synthesize complex information, problems, concepts along with a range of abstract ideas and theoretical rationales relevant to public policy processes and regulatory tools.
  4. Critically evaluate the veracity of public policy and regulation theories and models based on knowledge of appropriate concepts from law, sociology, economics and political science.
  5. Collaborate and communicate ways that are effective, appropriate and persuasive for both legal and non-legal audiences.


Class participation: 10%

In-class exercise: 10%

One research assignment (2,000 words): 40% (including in-class presentation of 10%)

One take-home examination (2,000 words): 40%

A formal hurdle requirement to attend 80% of seminars in this unit exists.

Workload requirements

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

See also Unit timetable information