LAWS 2008 Government and Public Law

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 200984

Coordinator Shreeya Smith Opens in new window

Description Government and Public Law introduces students to the field of public law and the operation of government in Australia. The subject has four key focus areas: Public Law in Australia, How Government Works, Government Accountability and Integrity, and Individuals and Government. The subject is intended to provide an overview of government and public law in Australia. The subject provides a foundation for the later study of Administrative Law and Constitutional Law.

School Law

Discipline Law, Not Elsewhere Classified.

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 2 subject

Pre-requisite(s) LAWS 1003 OR
LAWS 1006

Incompatible Subjects LAWS 3010 - Commercial Transactions Law

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Discuss the history and operation of government in Australia;
  2. Examine key areas of public law in Australia;
  3. Apply public law to issues relating to human rights and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  4. Develop critical thinking and academic communication skills,

Subject Content

1. Public Law in Australia
- The idea of Public Law
- Development of Public Law in Australia
- Foundational public law values

2. How Government Works
- The Parliament
- The Executive
- The Judiciary
- Intermediate Statutory interpretation: an exploration of statutory interpretation as an expression of the constitutional relationship between the arms of government
- International Law and the Australian legal system

3. Individuals and Government
- Human Rights
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Public Law

4. Government Accountability and Integrity
- Executive Accountability to Parliament
- Public Investigatory Bodies
- Misconduct by public officials


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Reflection 400 words or equivalent 15 N Individual
Essay 2000 words 40 N Individual
Final Exam 2 hours 45 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Lisa Burton-Crawford, Janina Boughey, Maria O’Sullivan and Melissa Castan, Public Law and Statutory Interpretation: Principles and practice (The Federation Press, 2nd ed, 2021) ISBN: 9781760022860

Teaching Periods

Spring (2023)



Subject Contact Shreeya Smith Opens in new window

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Subject Contact Shreeya Smith Opens in new window

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Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Elizabeth Handsley Opens in new window

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Structures that include subject