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Unit of study_

LAWS5111: Anti-Discrimination Law

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The objective of this unit is to enable students to examine and develop answers to the following questions: (i) What is discrimination and what harm does it cause? (ii) How has the law been used in Australia to address discrimination? (iii) What type of conduct does anti-discrimination law prohibit? Specifically, which attributes are protected, in what contexts and with what exceptions? (iv) What remedies can be sought for unlawful discrimination and how are these enforced? (v) What are the limits and future directions of anti-discrimination law? The law as it operates will be examined, focussing on examples of particular attributes of discrimination (such as sex, race, disability, age, or family responsibilities), but considerable attention is also paid to regulatory alternatives to explore how the law could be developed.

Unit details and rules

Unit code LAWS5111
Academic unit Law
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Belinda Smith,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Take-home extended release) Type E final exam hurdle task Compulsory final take-home exam
Final take-home exam
60% Formal exam period 48 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO1 LO2 LO4
Assignment hurdle task Research essay
Research essay
40% Mid-semester break
Due date: 26 Sep 2022 at 23:59

Closing date: 10 Oct 2022
3000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Participation Class participation
Class participation in small group and whole-of-class discussions.
0% Ongoing n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
Type E final exam = Type E final exam ?

Assessment summary

Class participation (0%, pass/fail):  Students are required to participate in whole of class and small group discussions, demonstrating preparation, engagement, and respect for other students.  Students will be required to nominate 3 classes in which they will be ‘on call’, so as to ensure all students have at least three opportunities across the semester to be called upon to respond to the reading/discussion questions provided in the reading guide and to help facilitiate class and small group discussions.  

Research essay (40%) 3000 words: Students can choose from a number of essay questions that will be released on the Canvas site on 9 August. The essay is due 26 September. References are not included in the word count.

​Final exam (60%), 48 hours duration, 3000 words:  The exam will be open book, scheduled during the univeristy exam period.  It will be composed of typical issue-spotting problem response questions.  

Assessment requirement to pass a unit of study
A student must make a genuine attempt at all assessment tasks set out in this Unit of Study in order to obtain a Pass mark and grade (or above); otherwise an Absent Fail grade will be recorded as the student’s result for this Unit of Study.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

  • Completely answers the question.
  • Contains striking originality of approach or analysis.
  • Demonstrates exhaustive or innovative research (where independent research required).
  • Exceptionally well written, structured and expressed.
  • Is otherwise exceptional in some way.


75 - 84

  • Completely answers the question.
  • Achieves a critical and evaluative approach to the issues.
  • Content and structure is well organised in support of the argument.
  • Demonstrates extensive research and analysis to support a well-documented argument.
  • Generally well expressed and free from errors.
  • Has a clear structure and is well articulated.


65 - 74

  • Covers main issues fairly well in answering the question.
  • Contains no significant errors.
  • Demonstrates an attempted critical approach to the issues.
  • Demonstrates reasonably sound research and analysis in addressing the key issues.
  • Has a clear structure and reasonably clear expression.


50 - 64

  • Identifies the key issues, but does not follow through with a reasoned argument.
  • Contains some significant errors.
  • Displays satisfactory engagement with the key issues.
  • Offers a descriptive summary of material relevant to the question.
  • Superficial use of material, and may display a tendency to paraphrase.
  • Demonstrates little evidence of in-depth research or analysis.
  • Adequate expression.
  • Overall, demonstrates the minimum level of competence in the assessment and satisfies the requirements to proceed to higher-level studies in the degree or subject area.


0 - 49

  • Does not answer the question.
  • Contains significant or numerous errors.
  • Few or no identifiable arguments.
  • Content that is inappropriate or irrelevant.
  • Lack of research or analysis.
  • Difficult or impossible to understand through poor grammar, expression or structure.
  • Overall, does not demonstrate the minimum level of competence in the assessment.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

The late submission of the research essay, which has not been granted an extension, will attract a penalty of 10% of the total marks available for the piece of assessment per calendar day or part thereof. Late penalties do no apply to exams, and any late submission of an exam will not be accepted.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Multiple weeks Introduction (course, equality theory and regulatory framework) using current affairs case study Seminar (8 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Direct and indirect discrimination Seminar (6 hr) LO1 LO4
First attribute - sex - definitions, discrimination prohibitions and exceptions Seminar (6 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Harassment Seminar (6 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Second attribute - disability - equality theories, definitions, prohibitions, exceptions Seminar (6 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Anti-discrimination law enforcement Seminar (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Fair Work Act discrimination prohibitions and enforcement Seminar (4 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: All students are required to attend 70% of classes to satisfy the pass requirements for each unit of study.  Failure to meet this requirement may result in a student being precluded from sitting the final assessment.
  • Word count penalty: A piece of assessment which exceeds the prescribed word limit will attract a penalty of 10% of the total marks available for the piece of assessment for every 100 words, or part thereof. The total word count for essay and other written assessments will
    • exclude
      • bibliography;
      • footnote numbers;
      • footnote citation;
      • cover page
    • and include
      • body text;
      • headings and sub-headings;
      • quotations;
      • anything other than numbers and citations in footnotes.
  • Referencing guide: The Sydney Law School expects you to use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th edition, 2018) for your footnoting style, and a link to the library website where this is set out comprehensively is available at

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

  • Reading materials available through Canvas under ‘Reading List’
  • Australian Human Rights Commission, Federal Discrimination Law 2016 (online)
  • Specific statutes and cases will be set out on Canvas and accessible on-line.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. identify discrimination and advise whether the discrimination is unlawful under Australian federal anti-discrimination law in respect of different attributes, such as disability or sex
  • LO2. understand the process for resolving discrimination claims, the possible outcomes and limitations
  • LO3. understand the regulatory response that Australia has developed to address discrimination, and evaluate its strengths, weaknesses and alternatives.
  • LO4. demonstrate skills of statutory interpretation, legal analysis, and oral and written communication.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Revised focus and weighting of topics to reflect current issues.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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