LAW5647 - Contemporary issues in public policy, regulation and the 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)

Graeme Hodge

Unit guides



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


The achievement of at least twelve units or 72 credit points towards the Master of Laws (Juris Doctor)


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.


  1. Apply knowledge and understanding, from an international and comparative perspective, of public policy processes and regulatory approaches to current controversies in regulation and in so doing, demonstrate sophisticated awareness of abstract and complex concepts along with a range of theoretical rationales for these activities.
  2. Investigate, analyze and synthesize complex information, problems, concepts including critically evaluating the veracity of public policy and regulation theories and models based on knowledge of appropriate concepts from law, sociology, economics and political science.
  3. Conduct research into contemporary domestic and international issues in public policy and regulation using technical and creative skills to generate, analyze and critically evaluate regulatory regimes and policy positions in order to develop appropriate jurisprudential, policy and regulatory responses and reforms.


Class participation 10%

One research assignment (3,000 words): 40%

Research assignment in-class presentation: 10%

One take-home examination (3,000 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.