LAW5007 - Principles of constitutional law - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

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



Chief examiner(s)

Dr Nadirsyah Hosen (Trimester 1)
Ms Katie O'Bryan Research ProfileResearch Profile ( (Trimester 2)
Luke Beck (Trimester 3)

Quota applies

Postgraduate programs are based on a model of small group teaching and therefore class sizes need to be restricted.

Unit guides


City (Melbourne)

  • Trimester 1 2018 (On-campus)
  • Trimester 2 2018 (On-campus)
  • Trimester 3 2018 (On-campus)


LAW5000 or LAW5080 or LAW5081 and LAW5004 (for students beginning in 2015 or later)


For postgraduate Law discontinuation dates, please see

For postgraduate Law unit timetables, please see

Previously coded as LAW7268


The unit examines the Victorian and Australian Constitutions, the Statute of Westminster and the Australia Acts; the separation of judicial powers at State and Commonwealth levels; Australian federalism and inter-governmental relations, including the distribution of legislative and fiscal powers between the Commonwealth and the States, inconsistency of laws, and intergovernmental immunities; some principal Commonwealth legislative powers; limitations on governmental power, including selected express and limited constitutional rights and freedoms, and critical analysis of techniques and principles of constitutional interpretation.


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

  1. analyse and critically evaluate the current state of Commonwealth and Victorian constitutional law and practice, and discuss reform issues;
  2. analyse and critically evaluate judgments of the High Court of Australia and other Australian courts in constitutional cases, including from the perspectives of
    1. the interpretive techniques used, and
    2. the principles or policies underlying the relevant constitutional doctrines or provisions;
  3. demonstrate sophisticated cognitive and creative skills to justify and interpret professional opinions relating to the constitutional validity of Commonwealth and Victorian legislation and executive actions, and to make reasoned and appropriate choices among alternatives;
  4. select, analyse and apply constitutional law interpretive principles to generate appropriate jurisprudential and practical responses to complex legal issues;
  5. communicate and collaborate effectively and persuasively; and
  6. work with a high degree of autonomy, independence and professionalism


  1. Research assignment (2,250 words): 30%
  2. Examination (2 hours plus 30 minutes reading time): 70%

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.