This course introduces students to the study of public law, including its history, institutions, methods of reasoning and fundamental principles. Students will acquire an understanding of the introductory principles and theories of administrative and constitutional law as they apply to the essential features of the Australian system of government, and their implications for human rights and the rule of law. The course exposes students to this material through an examination of Australia’s hybrid constitutional inheritance from the United Kingdom and United States, as adapted in the creation and subsequent development of the federal Commonwealth. In doing so it also examines the implications of colonisation for Indigenous legal systems and assertions of Crown sovereignty. The role, powers and interrelationship of the three arms of government are considered in contemporary as well as historical context, as are the issues of rights protection and constitutional change. The course prepares students for their later study of the courses LAWS1160: Administrative Law and LAWS2150: Federal Constitutional Law, and also introduces students to the fundamentals of the skill of statutory interpretation in the public law context.
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