Law in Social Theory

Subject SOLS30001 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 30 contact hours: 1 x 1.5 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week for 12 weeks.
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Criminology or Socio-Legal Studies at Levels 1 & 2

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Mr Tom Andrews


Subject Overview:

Law in Social Theory builds upon issues introduced in Law in Society, and Law, Justice and Social Change. It examines the theories of the function and role of law propounded by a range of social and legal theorists and movements, including Habermas, Luhmann, Critical Race Theory, Feminist Legal Theory, and others. Students examine these different theories of how law works and law's role in relation to society. Each week these theories are considered in light of and tested against contemporary criminological and socio-legal problems selected by the students and the lecturer. Students conceptualise their chosen case study through the perspective of particular theorists. Case studies in the past have included the David Hicks trial, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, closure of live music venues, Aboriginal customary law in the courts, corporate manslaughter, criminal record legislation, sex discrimination in the workplace, the use of art experts in the courtroom, prostitution legislation. The purpose of the course is thus two-fold: to become familiar with different theories of the function of law in relation to society, and to consider the insight these theories bring to different criminological and socio-legal problems.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should:

  • have knowledge of the theories of the role of law propounded by a range of social and legal theorists and theoretical movements;
  • consider the insight these theories bring, and their potentials and limitations, in relation to different criminological and socio-legal problems;
  • consider the use of theory in understanding law and its operation;
  • communicate effectively in oral and written formats.

  • A class presentation and report of 400 words (20%) due early in the semester.
  • A 1600 word research essay (30%) due mid-semester.
  • A 2000 word take home exam (50%) due in the examination period.

Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

Readings will be provided online through the subject's LMS site prior to the commencement of semester

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Available as a Breadth subject to non-Bachelor of Arts students

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 200 Point Master of Criminology
Criminology Major
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Criminology
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Social Theory
Graduate Certificate in Arts - Sociology
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Criminology
Graduate Diploma in Arts - Sociology
Law and Justice
Social Theory

Download PDF version.