This unit of study 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. The central theme of this unit is the accountability of government to the people, under the Australian constitutional system of representative and responsible government. The focus is on understanding the types of public power that exist under the Australian Constitution, identifying limits on those powers, the source/s of those limits and the legal avenues for challenging the purported exercise of those powers. We begin 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 of study then moves to consider the three arms of government and related concepts. In relation to the legislature, the focus is on understanding the system of representative government. The discussion of the executive focuses on the different forms of non-statutory executive power. After addressing the source and scope of the executive power, we then move to look at different mechanisms for holding the executive to account: freedom of information; rule making accountability and integrity bodies. The consideration of judicial power focuses on the separation of judicial power and institutional integrity of the courts.
2x2hr seminars/week for 10 weeks
1hr interim exam (muliple choice and short answer and/or problem questions) (30%) and 2hr final exam (problem questions) (70%)
LAWS1004 or LAWS2002 or LAWS3003 or LAWS5007