Australian Legal History

Subject 730-450 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008. Search for this in the current handbook Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2008.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 2-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: Estimated total time commitment of 144 hours.
Prerequisites: Legal Method and Reasoning; Principles of Public Law; Torts; Legal Theory or in each case their equivalents.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
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 Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Mr J Waugh
Subject Overview:

This subject is a social and political history of Australian law. It explores the role of law in Australian history and the things that have made Australian law distinctive. It covers interconnected chronological themes: the law of colonisation and the convict system; law and the land, including sale and occupation of public land; the framework of government, federation and Australia's relationship to England; equality before the law in relation to gender, sexuality and race; law and state security, including defence and dissent; the law of work; and other topics exploring the characteristics of 19th and 20th century law. Sources and methods in legal history research are also ­covered.

Note: The essay in this subject is regarded as a substantial piece of legal writing for honours purposes.

Note: Students wishing to complete a 10 000 word research paper may combine this subject with Advanced Legal Research (730-108), with the approval of both subject coordinators.

Assessment: Research essay of 5000 words, 100% (due end of semester) or final examination of three hours, 100%.
Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • attitudes towards knowledge that include valuing truth, openness to new ideas and ethics associated with knowledge creation and usage
  • the capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of sources
  • the capacity for critical and independent thought and reflection
  • the capacity to solve problems, including through the collection and evaluation of information
  • the capacity to communicate, both orally and in writing
  • the capacity to plan and manage time
  • intercultural sensitivity and understanding

In addition, on completion of the subject, students should have developed the following skills specific to the discipline of law:

  • research on print and on-line sources;
  • critical thinking and analysis;
  • interpreting the historical context of law;
  • communication of research and interpretation through writing and discussion.

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