University of Sydney Handbooks - 2019 Archive

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Law (Combined degree)

Students can refer to the Sydney Law School website ( for the latest information regarding unit of study descriptions, assessment or other requirements.

Please note: These units of study are ONLY available to students enrolled in the combined Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws (first three years).

Law unit of study descriptions

The University of Sydney Law School Undergraduate Table


Year 1

LAWS1006 Foundations of Law

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Professor Cameron Stewart Session: Semester 1 Classes: 1x1hr lecture and 1x2hr tutorial/week Prohibitions: LAWS1000 or LAWS5000 Assessment: Class participation (10%), 1 x group presentation (10%), 1 x case analysis (30%) and 1 x essay (50%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit of study provides a foundation core for the study of law. The aim is to provide a practical overview of the Australian legal system, an introduction to the skills of legal reasoning and analysis which are necessary to complete your law degree, and an opportunity for critical engagement in debate about the role of law in our lives. The course will introduce students to issues such as: (i) the development of judge made and statute law, with a particular focus on English and Australian legal history; (ii) the relationship between courts and parliament; (iii) the role and function of courts, tribunals and other forms of dispute resolution; (iv) understanding and interrogating principles of judicial reasoning and statutory interpretation; (v) the relationship between law, government and politics; (vi) what are rights in Australian law, where do they come from and where are they going; (vii) the development and relevance of international law. The course focus may be subject to change.
LAWS1012 Torts

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Professor David Rolph Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture and 1x1hr tutorial/week from week 1 Prerequisites: LAWS1006 Prohibitions: LAWS1005 or LAWS1010 or LAWS3001 or LAWS5001 Assessment: Assignment 1500 words (30%); tutorial participation (10%) and 2hr closed book exam (60%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This is a general introductory unit of study concerned with liability for civil wrongs, with particular emphasis on torts protecting personal integrity, safety and freedom from personal injury. The unit seeks to examine and evaluate, through a critical and analytical study of primary and secondary materials, the function and scope of modern tort law and the rationale and utility of its governing principles. It also aims to build students' skills in problem solving and applying the law to hypothetical or real life situations. Particular topics on which the unit will focus include:
2017 Unit of Study Descriptions-updated 31/07/2017 Page 8 of 57
(a) The role and impact of tort law in modern society, in comparison with other fields of law;
(b) The role of fault as the principal basis of liability in the modern law;
(c) Historical development of the action of trespass and the action on the case and the contemporary relevance of this development;
(d) Trespass to the person (battery, assault, and false imprisonment);
(e) The modern action on the case for intentional injury;
(f) Defences to intentional torts;
(g) Development and scope of the modern tort of negligence, including detailed consideration of the principles underpinning a duty of care in a range of common situations, the determination of breach of duty and the issues of causation and scope of liability or remoteness of damage, with particular reference to personal and psychiatric injury;
(h) Compensation for personal injuries, including special and alternative compensation schemes;
(i) Defences to negligence;
(j) Vicarious liability for the torts of others and non-delegable duties;
(k) Joint and several liability for personal injury and contribution between wrongdoers;
(i) Injuries to relational interests, including compensation to relatives of victims of fatal accidents; survival of actions following death; and actions by employers for injury to employees.
LAWS1013 Legal Research I

Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Alice Orchiston Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: 1 x 1 hour lecture; 1 x 2 hour seminar Corequisites: LAWS1006 Prohibitions: LAWS1008 or LAWS1203 Assessment: Satisfactory attendance, Canvas quizzes and final exam. Practical field work: Canvas-based skills modules Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Semester 1 classes are for Combined Law candidates in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Semester 2 classes are for Combined Law candidates in the Business School and faculties of Architecture, Engineering and Science.
This is a compulsory unit taught on a pass/fail basis. The aim of the unit is to introduce students to the finding and citing primary and secondary legal materials and introduce them to legal research techniques. These are essential skills which students will be required to apply in other units.

Year 2

LAWS1014 Civil and Criminal Procedure

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Associate Professor Tyrone Kirchengast Session: Semester 1,Summer Main Classes: 1x2hr lecture and 1x2hr tutorial/week for 10 weeks Prerequisites: LAWS1006 and LAWS1012 Prohibitions: LAWS5003 or LAWS2006 Assessment: 2 x class participation (20%) and 1 x 1200wd interim assignment (20%) and 1x 2hr final open-book exam (60%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit of study aims to introduce students to civil and criminal procedure. It is concerned with the procedures relating to civil dispute resolution and criminal justice which are separate to the substantive hearing. The unit will consider the features of an adversarial system of justice and its impact on process. Recent reforms to the adversarial system of litigation will be explored. The civil dispute resolution part of the unit will cover alternative dispute resolution, the procedures for commencing a civil action, case management, gathering evidence and the rules of privilege. Criminal process will be explored by reference to police powers, bail and sentencing. The course focuses on practical examples with consideration of the applicable legislation, ethics, and contextual and theoretical perspectives.
LAWS1015 Contracts

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Associate Professor Yane Svetiev Session: Semester 1,Summer Main Classes: 2x2hr lectures and/or tutorials/week Prerequisites: LAWS1006 Prohibitions: LAWS1002 or LAWS2008 or LAWS5002 Assessment: Class participation (10%) and 1800wd take-home assignment (30%) and 2hr final exam (60%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Contract law provides the legal background for transactions involving the supply of goods and services and is, arguably the most significant means by which the ownership of property is transferred from one person to another. It vitally affects all members of the community and a thorough knowledge of contract law is essential to all practising lawyers. In the context of the law curriculum as a whole, Contracts provides background which is assumed knowledge in many other units. The aims of the course are composite in nature. The course examines the rules that regulate the creation, terms, performance, breach and discharge of a contract. Remedies and factors that may vitiate a contract such as misrepresentation are dealt with in Torts and Contracts II. The central aim of the course is to provide an understanding of the basic principles of contract law and how those principles are applied in practice to solve problems. Students will develop the skills of rules based reasoning and case law analysis. A second aim is to provide students an opportunity to critically evaluate and make normative judgments about the operation of the law. Successful completion of this unit of study is a prerequisite to the elective unit Advanced Contracts.
LAWS1016 Criminal Law

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Professor Arlie Loughnan Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2x2hr seminar/week for 10 weeks. Prerequisites: LAWS1006 and LAWS1014 Prohibitions: LAWS1003 or LAWS2009 or LAWS5004 Assessment: Class participation (10%), 2000wd research essay (40%) and 2hr open-book exam (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit of study is designed to introduce the general principles of criminal law in NSW, and to critically analyse these in their contemporary social and political context. In order to achieve this, the unit will consider a range of theoretical literature as well as critical commentary, and will focus on particular substantive legal topics in problem-centred contexts. Although the topic structure is necessarily selective, it is intended that students will gain a broad understanding of crime and justice issues, as well as of the applications of the criminal law. Students will encounter problem-based learning and will be encouraged to challenge a range of conventional wisdom concerning the operation of criminal justice. This unit of study is designed to assist students in developing: (1) A critical appreciation of certain key concepts which recur throughout the substantive criminal law. (2) knowledge of the legal rules in certain specified areas of criminal law and their application. (3) preliminary knowledge of how the criminal law operates in its broader societal context. (4) An understanding of how criminal liability is determined. The course has a critical focus and will draw on procedural, substantive, theoretical and empirical sources. The contradictions presented by the application of legal principle to complex social problems will be investigated.

Year 3

LAWS1017 Torts and Contracts II

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Professor Barbara McDonald Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2hr lecture and 1x1hr lecture/week for 10 weeks and 1x1hr tutorial/week for 10 weeks from week 2 Prerequisites: (LAWS1010 or LAWS1012) and LAWS1015 Prohibitions: LAWS5006 Assessment: Mid-semester 1.5 hr closed-book exam (40%), tutorial participation (10%) and final closed book exam (60%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit aims to complete the study of tort law and contract law acquired in Torts and Contracts respectively and to encourage the integrated study of the law of civil obligations and remedies. Liabilities in tort, contract and under statute frequently overlap in practice. Equitable principles also play an important role in providing remedies in a contractual context. This course will also consider liability under the Australian Consumer Law. Core topics are:
(a) Causation and remoteness of damage principles in contract law and the calculation of damages for breach of contract;
(b) Vitiating factors and other factors affecting contracts, including: unfair or unconscionable dealing; unfair terms in contracts; mistake and misrepresentation; duress; and undue influence. This topic includes a study of equitable as well as common law principles and statutory rights and remedies;
(c) Liability and remedies for misleading or deceptive conduct under statute (in particular, under s 18 of the Australian Consumer Law);
(d) Trespass to Land including damage by aircraft;
(e) Nuisance;
(f) Intentional Interference with goods;
(g) Negligence Liability for property damage and pure economic loss in tort, including liability for negligent misstatement, liability for economic loss suffered by third parties rather than the primary victim, liability for defective construction;
(h) Proportionate liability where it applies to tort, contract and statutory liabilities.
Other topics may be studied to the extent class time allows. These topics may include: the intentional economic torts such as deceit; breach of statutory duty; illegality in contract.
LAWS1019 Legal Research II

Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Alice Orchiston Session: Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: 1 x 2hr seminar Prerequisites: LAWS1013 Prohibitions: LAWS1008 or LAWS1022 Assessment: Satisfactory attendance and final exam Practical field work: Canvas-based skills modules Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Semester 1 classes are for Combined Law candidates in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Semester 2 classes are for Combined Law candidates in the Business School and faculties of Architecture, Engineering and Science.
This is a compulsory unit taught on a pass/fail basis. It is a continuation of Legal Research I and introduces students to legislative research, researching select sources of foreign and international law, and complex research databases such as Lexis Advance (US and International), Westlaw UK and Westlaw International. The purpose of this unit is to further develop the skills students need throughout their law degree.
LAWS1021 Public Law

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Rayner Thwaites Session: Semester 2,Summer Main Classes: 2x2hr seminars/week for 10 weeks Prerequisites: LAWS1006 Prohibitions: LAWS1004 or LAWS2002 or LAWS3003 or LAWS5007 Assessment: 1hr interim exam (30%) and 2hr final exam (70%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit is designed to introduce students to the principles and structures that underpin constitutional and administrative law in Australia. It is broader than either of these subjects because its focus is on generic issues of governance and accountability, focusing on questions of governmental power: what power is exercised by whom, from what source, with what limits and how and by whom is the exercise of those powers to be scrutinised. The unit begins with an introduction to the Constitution, its history, and the structures established by it, together with consideration of how to change both State and Commonwealth Constitutions. The unit then moves to consider the three arms of government and related concepts such as representative and responsible government; the separation of judicial power and institutional integrity of the courts. The course also introduces various mechanisms by which the executive can be made accountable, including by the Parliament, through freedom of information laws, and investigative tribunals.
LAWS1023 Public International Law

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Emily Crawford Session: Semester 1,Summer Main Classes: 1x2hr lecture/week and 1x1-hr tutorial/week Prerequisites: LAWS1006 Prohibitions: LAWS1018 or LAWS2005 or LAWS5005 Assessment: Mid-term test or assignment (20%) and 2hr final exam (80%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
The compulsory unit of study is an introduction to the general problems, sources and techniques of public international law. The unit surveys the fundamental rules and principles public international law through an examination of the following topics (1) the nature, function and scope of public international law, (2) the sources of public international law, (3) the law of treaties including principles of treaty interpretation, (4) the relationship between public international law and municipal law, (5) the extent of civil and criminal state jurisdiction, (6) immunities from state jurisdiction including diplomatic privileges and immunities (7) state responsibility, including diplomatic protection, nationality of claims and exhaustion of local remedies, (8) regulation of the use of force in international relations, and (9) dispute settlement.
Dixon, McCorquodale and Williams, Cases and Materials on International Law (6th edition)