Skip to main content
Unit of study_

LAWS6928: Courts, Justice and Development

Intensive May, 2023 [Block mode] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit provides a critical overview to law and justice reform in international development. It analyses the global reform experience over the past half-century. It interrogates the nature and justification(s) of reform theory, studies the empirical evidence of various approaches, and examines the conceptual/practical challenges of evaluating development endeavour, using case studies from the Asia/Pacific region. Students enrolling in this unit will develop an evidence-based understanding of the use of law and justice reform in broader development strategies.

Unit details and rules

Unit code LAWS6928
Academic unit Law
Credit points 6
LAWS3478 or LAWS5178
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Emily Crawford,
Lecturer(s) Livingston Armytage,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Journal
Reflective journal
20% Week 03
Due date: 05 May 2023 at 17:00

Closing date: 19 May 2023
500 words each entry=2000 total/3 weeks
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Essay 1
40% Week 03
Due date: 05 May 2023 at 17:00

Closing date: 19 May 2023
3000 words / 3 weeks
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Essay 2
40% Week 07
Due date: 02 Jun 2023 at 18:00
3000 words / 7 weeks
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Assessment summary

Journal (20%): Students are required to complete a written daily journal for each day of the intensive in approximately 500 words for each day. Time will be provided for students to complete this journal at the end of each day. The purpose of this journal is to ensure students critically reflect on the content and application of their learning. Students should focus on whatever they find most interesting and explain why. Details about the journal will be released on the first day of class 13 April and will be due at 5pm on 5 May, 2023 (Sydney, Australia time).

Essay 1 (40%): This assessment will require students to provide a researched analysis of the law and justice and human rights discourses. The word limit is 3000 words. There is a single question which all students must undertake. The question will be released on Canvas during classes on 14 April, and is due at 5pm on 5 May, 2023 (Sydney, Australia time).

Essay 2 (40%): This assessment will require students to develop and demonstrate their understanding of key issues and current challenges in the field. The word count is 3000 words. There are 4 options, and these questions will be released on Canvas during classes on 14 April and is due at 6pm on 2 June, 2023 (Sydney, Australia time).

The outcome of a grant of special consideration application may include an alternative task, at the discretion of the Unit Coordinator.  

Word Limit 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 all footnotes and any bibliography (if required).

Use of editors or proof-readers:

The use of assistance in preparing and editing assessment tasks in this unit of study is strictly prohibited. Assistance includes human and automated writing tools (not including spell checking).

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 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.
  • Demonstrates the minimum level of competence and satisfies the requirements to proceed to higher-level studies.


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

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 a piece of assessment, which has not been granted an extension, will attract a penalty of 10% of the total marks available for the piece of assessment per 24 hours or part thereof, after the due time on the due date. For example, a submission after the due time but before the same time the following day will attract a 10% penalty. Late penalties will be strictly applied. The date and time of submission as recorded by Canvas is taken as the official and final record of a student’s submission.

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
Ongoing 1. Development and the rule of law; 2. Reforms, critique and reinvention; 3. Student exercise; 4. World Bank approach Seminar (7 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
1. Theories of reform; 2. Applying theory to practice across the region; 3. Empirical evidence; 4. Student exercise Seminar (7 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
1. Development evaluation; 2. Evaluating judicial reform; 3. Frameworks of measurement 4. Student exercise; 5. Human rights issues: towards convergence? ; 6. AusAID-DFAT’s experience in Vanuatu Seminar (7 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
1. Australia’s approach to law and development; 2. Student exercise; 3. Conclusions and review Seminar (7 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.

For units offered in Intensive mode, participation in all scheduled sessions may be expected by a Unit Coordinator in order to satisfy the requirements of the unit.

Referencing: The Sydney Law School expects you to use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th edition, 2018) for your footnoting style, although you should confirm this with your lecturer, 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

All readings for this unit will be detailed in the Reading Guide which will be uploaded to Canvas.

The required textbook for this unit of study is

  • Livingston Armytage, Reforming Justice: a Journey to Fairness in Asia (2012: hardback; 2013: paperback) Cambridge University Press.

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. demonstrate your ability to analyse the history and global performance of law justice and development including recent initiatives
  • LO2. demonstrate a detailed understanding of theoretical justifications for law justice and development
  • LO3. critically consider the empirical evidence of global practice
  • LO4. evaluate the effectiveness of law justice and development with a view to exploring alternative theoretical and practical approaches.

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.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered


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

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.