Course descriptions

Compulsory Courses in the Bachelor of Laws

All subject content requirements specified in the Fifth Schedule to the Legal Practitioner's Admission Rules 1994 NSW will be met. In addition, broader overviews of these courses and the remainder of our compulsory and elective courses are provided below. Notre Dame emphasizes the value of the human person and the importance of maintaining an ethical way of life. In keeping with such emphasis, all students complete core courses in ethics, philosophy and theology dealing with issues that go to the very heart of participation in public life.

Level 1 courses

LAWS1000 Legal Research and Writing
Legal Research and Writing is an introductory core skills course for Law.  Students will learn how to solve legal problems and approach law assignments; how to find, interpret and use primary and secondary sources; how to distinguish credible from non-credible sources; how to communicate clearly and persuasively in academic and professional contexts; and how to reference appropriately. Students will also learn generic study skills applicable outside of a Law course.

LAWS1010 Legal Process and Statutory Interpretation
This course introduces students to a critical understanding of the institutions and practices that are basic to the law in Australia. This course provides a foundation for later courses, both in its content and its method of teaching, within the context of legal problem solving. Students will be encouraged to reflect critically on aspects of the legal system, which includes an introduction to the historical and philosophical sources of such elements as the adversarial system, the structure of courts and tribunals and the roles of lawyers and judges. This course also introduces students to the key principles of and approaches to statutory interpretation, which is an essential legal skill.


Level 2 courses

LAWS2510 Criminal Law A
Co-requisites or pre-requisites: LW100/ LAWS1000 Legal Research and Writing, LW1010/LAWS1010 Legal Process and Statutory Interpretation
This course provides an introduction to criminal offences and criminal procedure. While the focus will be on the relevant State jurisdiction, aspects of Federal criminal law will also be introduced. The course will predominantly deal with matters that need to be proved to successfully prosecute major criminal offences.

LAWS2520 Criminal Law B
Pre-requisites: LAWS2519/LAWS2510 Criminal Law A
This course provides an introduction to criminal offences and criminal procedure. While the focus will be on the relevant State jurisdiction, aspects of Federal criminal law will also be introduced. The course will predominantly deal with matters that need to be proved to successfully prosecute major criminal offences.


Level 3 courses

LAWS3001 Evidence
Pre-requisites: LAWS2529/LAWS2520 Criminal Law B; LAWS2129/LAWS2120 Contract Law B; LAWS2229/LAWS2220 Torts B
This course deals with the theory and practice relating to the laws of Evidence in both State and Federal jurisdiction across a variety of topics. The key principles governing the procedural rules relating to the collection and admission of evidence are considered, along with the rules of admissibility and the judicial discretion to exclude evidence. The focus will be on the practical application of these principles in the practice of law.

LAWS3002 Administrative Law
Pre-requisites: LAWS2229/LAWS2220 Torts B; LAWS2319/LAWS2310 Equity
Administrative law is concerned with the operation of government and the principles of sound public administration and decision-making. It includes Parliament, the Executive, statutory tribunals and semi-governmental organisations.
The Course covers major aspects of both Merits Review and Judicial Review at the Commonwealth and State level and the growth of public enquiries. The Course will provide students with fundamental legal knowledge and skills to address administrative law problems, and to advise and represent clients affected by governmental power and decisions.

LAWS3003 Constitutional Law
Pre-requisites: LAWS2229/LAWS2220 Torts B
Constitutional Law deals with the rules that make up the system of government in Australia. The course identifies the difference between the state and federal constitutions, but the focus is on the distinctively federal aspects of the Australian Constitutional system, and in particular the division of the legislative, executive, judicial and financial powers between the Commonwealth and the States. The course begins with an introduction to the sources of constitutional law, types of constitutions, the philosophical underpinnings of constitutions and fundamental principles of constitutionalism including the rule of law, the separation of powers, representative democracy and federalism.  Against this background the course also undertakes a critical examination of selected enumerated legislative powers of the Commonwealth including the External Affairs Power, Defence Power, Corporations Power, Trade and Commerce Power and the Taxation Power. The course will also address various constitutional rights and freedoms.

LAWS3004 Contemporary Issues in Administrative Law
Pre-requisites: LAWS3002 Administrative Law OR LAWS3329 Administrative Law B
This course builds on central principles of the Administrative Law course. It provides a critical understanding of the extent and efficacy of government power and standards of good administration in selected contemporary Administrative Law areas. Topics of discussion include Australia's international obligations in the processing of refugees and other immigrants and the appropriate balance between security legislation and personal liberty. This course will also examine the resurgence of specific area investigative bodies such as royal commissions and anti-corruption commissions.

LAWS3005 Advanced Evidence
Pre-requisite: LAWS3001 Evidence OR LAWS3249 Evidence B
This course expands on laws of evidence introduced in the Evidence course. The focus will be on how the theoretical underpinnings of Evidence impact on practical outcomes in rules and discretions surrounding the admissibility of evidence. It is recommended for students whose career interests include significant quantities of court work.

LAWS3006 Advanced Constitutional Law
Pre-requisite: LAWS3003 Constitutional Law OR LAWS3429 Constitutional Law B
This course builds on foundational theory and principles studied in Constitutional Law and provides a deeper understanding of Constitutional Law from an international perspective. This course also focuses on the role of the High Court, current High Court judgments, practice and procedure in the High Court, preparing for constitutional litigation in the High Court, and the role of the interveners and amicus.

LAWS3007 Advanced Civil Procedure
Pre-requisite: LAWS4001 Civil Procedure OR LAWS4649/LW464.1 Civil Procedure B
In this course students will learn how to manage the more complicated aspects of civil cases by themselves. Because the legislature regularly refine civil procedure rules, topics will vary but will include detailed analysis of discovery processes, the preparation, examination and cross-examination of expert witnesses and steps that can be taken to avoid responsibility for party-party costs. Students will also learn how to navigate the ethical challenges arising under the "just, quick and cheap" requirement imposed in Civil Procedure legislation.

LAWS3010 Banking Law
Pre-requisites: LAWS1000 Legal Research and Writing, LAWS1010 Legal Process and Statutory Interpretation, LAWS2520 Criminal Law B (Defences).
Co-requisites: Students must complete all core curriculum units before undertaking elective units. These are: TH101, PH100, LW104/LAWS1040

This course explores the law, policies, regulation and practice of banks within Australia.  It will address the relationship between customers and banks.  Furthermore it addresses issues such as the law of negotiable instruments; different types of accounts; payment services/electronic banking; regulation of virtual currencies as well as documentary letters of credit.  This course will also consider current national and international issues in banking.

LAWS3011 Refugee Law
Pre-requisites: LAWS1000 Legal Research and Writing, LAWS1010 Legal Process and Statutory Interpretation, LAWS2520 Criminal Law B (Defences).
Co-requisites: Students must complete all core curriculum units before undertaking elective units. These are: TH101, PH100, LW104/LAWS1040

The course will examine the history, sources and framework of the international and domestic system of protection, the critical question of the 'definition of a refugee', and the fundamental rights arising under the Refugee Convention and through new forms of 'complementary protection'. The course will further address procedural standards, reception conditions and the controversial trend toward the 'externalisation of asylum', as well the fundamental problems of burden sharing, international co-operation, and prospects for reform. The course is thus historical, comparative and socio-legal in its orientation; but also progressive, as it intends to heighten a critical awareness and an ethical resolve towards a 'refugee problem' which essentially cannot be solved.

LAWS3012 International Business and Trade in Antiquities, Art and Cultural Property
Pre-requisites: Students must have completed 200 credit points in law to be eligible to enrol
This course examines the relationship between cultural heritage and law. Students will become familiar with international conventions aimed at the protection of cultural heritage and a selection of the domestic laws which have been developed to govern trade in antiquities, art and cultural objects. Students will also engage with the ethical issues underlying cultural heritage claims.

LAWS3740 Law in Context (International)
Pre-requisite: LAWS1000 Legal Research and Writing, LAWS1010 Legal Process and Statutory Interpretation, LAWS2520 Criminal Law B (Defences)
This course involves participation in a legally-focused, international experience.  Students gain valuable practical and professional skills, learning from legal experts in an international setting.  The course uses experiential learning for example, visits to sites of legal significance, attendance at local universities, meeting with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), observation of courts or working with legal service providers.  This course provides students with insight into the law of a non-Australian jurisdiction.  In addition to substantive questions of law, students will explore issues such as ethical decision-making, leadership development, and balancing the needs of the individual, the community and the sustainability of the natural environment.


Level 4 courses

LAWS4001 Civil Procedure
Pre-requisites: LAWS3002 Administrative Law OR LAWS3329 Administrative Law B
This course will provide students with an overview of civil procedure. The focus of the course will be dispute resolution pursuant to the relevant legislation, rules, court practices and ethical obligations that apply to legal practitioners engaged in dispute resolution. Students will learn how to apply civil procedure to practical legal scenarios.

LAWS4410 Advanced Research Project A
Pre-requisites: At Course Coordinator's/Dean's discretion OR By invitation only.
The course is the first of a two part (course) honours research project. Over the two courses, students will be actively engaged in researching an avenue of law which is of particular interest to them through definition of the scope of the research, constructing a sound legal argument and presenting it in both a written and oral form. In this first course, students will be required to choose, and receive approval from the Course Co-ordinator for a research topic.  Students will then be required to submit a written abstract and make an oral presentation on the research completed to date.

LAWS4411 Advanced Research Project B
Pre-requisites: LAWS4410 Advanced Research Project A
This course is the second of a two part (course) honours research project. Over the two courses, students will be actively engaged in researching an avenue of law which is of particular interest to them through definition of the scope of the research, constructing a sound legal argument and presenting it in both a written and oral form. In this second course, students will be required to complete a 10,000 – 12,000 word thesis on their chosen topic.

LAWS4620 Alternative Dispute Resolution
Pre-requisites: LAWS2329/LAWS2320 Trusts; LAWS3002 Administrative Law OR LAWS3329 Administrative Law B; LAWS3003 Constitutional Law OR LAWS3429 Constitutional Law B; LAWS3219/LAWS3210 Corporations & Partnerships AND Pre-requite or Co-requisite: LW350/LAW3500 Legal Philosophy; LAWS4719/LAWS4729/LAWS4710 Commercial Practice & Ethics
This course will foster the idea of the lawyer as problem solver. This course introduces processes increasingly being used by parties seeking to resolve disputes without adjudication. These include negotiation, mediation, conciliation, early neutral evaluation and arbitration.
Students will be shown how to distinguish between these processes and how to select the most appropriate form of Alternative Dispute Resolution for particular disputes. Differences between private and court annexed Alternative Dispute Resolution processes will also be explored.
Teaching methods will involve participation by students as various processes are demonstrated by working through examples of legal disputes arising in the community.


Elective courses

LAWS3250 Work Health and Safety Law
Pre-requisites: LAWS2129/LAWS2120 Contract Law B; LAWS2229/LAWS2220 Torts B; LAWS2429/LAWS2439/LAWS2420 Property Law B; LAWS2529/LAWS2520 Criminal Law B; Core courses: LAWS1049/LAWS1040 or CORE1002, CORE1010 or CORE1001; CORE1030 or CORE1003
This course examines the legal framework of occupational safety and health law. It has a practical focus on how law is applied in the workplace. It explores the statutory framework and principles, the obligations of persons conducting businesses or undertakings, the role and function of relevant statutory authorities, statutory notices and prosecutions, workers compensation and safety and health management systems.

LAWS3800 Law Review A
Pre-requisites:  At Course Coordinator's/Dean's discretion OR By invitation only
The course is the first of a two part (course) law review project. Over the two courses, students will enhance skills associated with the writing, production and publication of an academic and scholarly law journal.  Students will learn to review legal writing critically and develop further their own legal research and writing skills in the process.  It will provide opportunities for students to integrate the law learnt in the classroom with material submitted for publication.

LAWS3801 Law Review B
Pre-requisite: LAWS3800 Law Review A
The course is the second of a two part (course) law review project. Over the two courses, students will enhance skills, associated with the writing, production and publication of an academic and scholarly law journal subject to peer review.  Students will learn to review legal writing critically and develop further their own research and writing skills in the process.  It will provide opportunities for students to integrate the law learnt in the classroom with writing submitted for publication.

LAWS4220 International Law Moot
Pre-requisites: At Course Coordinator's/Dean's discretion OR By invitation only.
This course provides students with an opportunity to obtain an understanding of international trade law and international commercial arbitration law. The course is also skills-based because students will be involved in numerous simulated arbitration hearings and will study oral advocacy skills which are needed to address an arbitral court. The goal of the course is to foster the study of international commercial law and arbitration for resolution of international business disputes through its application to a concrete problem of a client and to train law leaders of tomorrow in methods of alternative dispute resolution.

LAWS4418 Advanced Research Project A
The aim of this course is to develop legal research and writing skills on a specific area of law. This course is only available to final year law students who have been invited into the Honours course. Students are required to submit an appropriate research topic for approval by a supervisor. Approval depends upon the subject-matter of the proposal and the availability of an appropriate supervisor.

LAWS4419 Advanced Research Project B
The aim of this course is to develop legal research and writing skills on a specific area of law. This course is only available to final year law students who have been invited into the Honours course. Students are required to submit an appropriate research topic for approval by a supervisor. Approval depends upon the subject-matter of the proposal and the availability of an appropriate supervisor.

LAWS6000 Asia-Europe Trade Law
The course commences with a statistical overview of the trade flow between Asia and Europe. This will be followed by a discussion of the institutional structures which facilitate trade. They will include the World Trade Organisation, the Asian Economic Community, and the Court of Justice of the European Union. Proposed topics include: (i) free movement of goods between Asia and Europe, (ii) international commercial and trading contracts, including relevant United Nations Conventions, (iii) financing of exports, and (iv) intellectual property issues affecting Asia-Europe trade.

LAWS6001 Canon Law
This course examines the internal laws governing the Catholic Church (Canon Law). These laws are specified in the Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope John Paul II (1983). Subject matter includes church discipline, marriage and annulment, the administration of Church property and how the church responds to complaints of sexual abuse.

LAWS6002 Directed Legal Research Project
Pre-requisite: BUSN5103 Research Methods
Students learn how to review current legal research materials including the WestLaw and LexisNexis branded collections available in the University Library. Library research topics will include contemporary Boolean search technologies and proprietary research collection and bibliographical software packages. Advanced writing development will include peer workshops where plain English written advocacy is analysed, existing student work critiqued and rewritten individually and in group sessions, and where best practice in thesis structure is demonstrated and practised in real time display. Workshops will focus on student writing in other elective courses in the program.

Grounded in independent study, this course uses individual supervision of students by academic staff to facilitate the high-level development and execution of a piece of sustained and autonomous legal research, with the research topic chosen by the student.

LAWS6003 International Business Law and Dispute Resolution
This course will provide instruction in contemporary developments in international dispute resolution. Matters will include arbitration and mediation, the differences between the rules of the most influential international dispute resolution centres, the jurisdictional bases upon which courts can intervene when the parties have chosen another form of dispute resolution and the significance of different rules for dispute resolution in dispute resolution fora.

LAWS6004 International Cultural Heritage Law
This course provides instruction in contemporary developments in international cultural property law, the application of law (domestic and international) by tribunals that have jurisdiction to decide cultural property cases, conflicts of law arising in cultural heritage cases, and the international law status of cultural heritage objects taken from rightful owners.

LAWS6005 International Environmental Law
This course considers advances in international law which relate specifically to the protection of the environment, conservation of natural resources, and management of the impacts of land use change and development.  The course examines the fundamental principles, aims and content of environmental law.  It assesses legal and policy responses to contemporary environmental and development challenges such as loss of biodiversity, climate change, pollution, land use conflict and urbanisation at international, national and domestic levels.

LAWS6006 International Human Rights Law
This course explores the historic, philosophical and religious foundations of contemporary human rights law, the main human rights declarations and treaties, and the central international institutions established to facilitate compliance with human rights standards by governments, organisations and individuals. The extent to which human rights are recognised and protected under international and domestic law is critically examined.

LAWS6007 International Business Law in Practice
This course provides instruction in the practice of business law across national boundaries. Discussion will include contemporary developments in customary international law, instruction in the jurisdiction of international tribunals, and consideration of efforts to regulate multi-national organisations.

LAWS6008 International Perspectives on Bioethics and the Law
This course explores the history of bioethics, the major bioethical organisations at the international and domestic level and the main ethical theories that inform bioethical decision making. A diverse range of topics will be covered including theological and natural law perspectives on the human person, the contribution of international instruments and organisations to the field of bioethics such as the moral permissibility of abortion, reproductive technologies, stem cell research and euthanasia.

LAWS6009 International Taxation Law
This course provides instruction in the Australian law rules concerning the taxation of international (cross-border) transactions and the related issues of residency and source, double taxation including foreign income tax offset, specific foreign exemptions, tax havens, base erosion and profit shifting, international tax enforcement, transfer pricing, withholding taxes, accruals taxation, thin capitalisation, the Multinational Anti-Avoidance Law (MAAL) and Diverted Profits Tax.

LAWS6010 International Transport Law
This course provides instruction in current issues in international transport law. Topics considered include insured risks and exclusions in contemporary international transport contracts, the impact of carrier liability exclusions in national legislation and international treaties, transnational transport contract enforcement and the nature and development of ‘acts of God’ in transport law.  The course will also review the regulations that govern carriers (land, air and sea), the nature of the regulatory framework that governs international transportation and the most common methods of alternate dispute resolution.

LAWS6011 Issues in International Law and Contemporary Culture
This course covers a variety of current issues in law and contemporary culture. Topics will include commercial applications of artificial intelligence, the extra-territorial application of the laws of the United States, the re-emergence of tariffs and other domestic barriers to international trade, the impact of Brexit on the international economy and the disruption of international trade by various forms of protest.

LAWS6012 Law and Religion
This course provides instruction on the key treaties and international institutions relevant to religion and enables students to assess the approach that should be taken to protect freedom of religion at a state and federal level in accord with international standards. Students will also analyse the approach taken by the executive and judicature to resolve conflicts which raise religious issues. Particular topics covered in the course include the role of the Australian Constitution, state and federal anti-discrimination laws, blasphemy and anti-conversion laws, and freedom of religious speech.

LAWS6013 The Legal Environment of the Asia-Pacific Region
This course will review current legal issues in the Asia-Pacific Region in terms of the role of law and the rule of law. Topics may include the residual influences of colonialism, globalisation and the influence of multinational corporations, the role of non-government organisations, constitutional engagement with the first peoples of the region, the practical and legal consequences of climate change and comity obligations, the appropriate balance between customary lifestyles and economic development, the protection and sustainable development of natural resources for all who have a stake in them including future generations and the legal consequences of the militarisation of artificial islands.

LAWS6014 The Philosophy of International Law
The course examines philosophical presuppositions that undergird international law and institutions, including the classic Greek ideas of cosmos, universality, human nature and human reason. The course builds upon the concept of “law of nations” initially developed by Spanish Catholic thinkers of the sixteenth century (Suarez and Victoria) to reflect the natural law view that fundamental human rights are inalienable and not posited into being by law. The course examines whether this classic understanding can be maintained by contemporary legal philosophy.