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The Legal Experimentalism course aims to equip law students to employ legal skills and knowledge in innovative, creative ways. The course will do so by combining two main elements. First, it offers students a firm grounding in the legal traditions of Legal Realism and their contemporary derivations. Second, it affords students opportunities to engage collaboratively in the creative rewriting and redeployment of legal instruments, texts and institutions and/or to start to think through the potential development of new legal technologies and institutions. 

Topics Covered/Structure

1. Precursors and Contexts: Legal and Philosophical Pragmatism; Sociological Jurisprudence

2. American Legal Realism

3. Realism Worldwide: Comparable or Related Developments in Australia and other Jurisdictions

4. Design Exercise I: Identifying the Elements and Scope

5. Ramifications of Realism: Law and Economics, Law and Society, other ‘Law and…’ movements

6. Design Exercise II: Taking Apart the Elements

7. New Realism; New Governance

8. Design Exercise III: The Why and What For, the Problem, the Challenge

9. Democratic Experimentalism

10. Design Exercise IV: Reassembling the Elements

11. Offshoots and derivations: de Sousa Santos’ ALICE Project; New Empiricism in Law etc.

12. Group Presentations

Faculty Faculty of Law
Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 1, Term 2



Indicative contact hours


Conditions for Enrolment

Pre-requisite: 24 UOC completed in LLB courses or 24 UOC completed in Juris Doctor courses. Juris Doctor students who commenced prior to 2013 need no pre-requisites.

Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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