LAWS 3084 Law and Literature

Credit Points 10

Coordinator Jacinta Sassine Opens in new window

Description This subject will explore the relationship between law and literature. Students will examine how works of literature reflect the law and its social context, with the objective of developing a facility with research and critical and analytical skills, as well as fostering a broader appreciation of the role of law within our society. It will also involve textual analysis of legal documents, judgments and literary writings to encourage students to develop both a greater understanding of the language of the law and the ability to communicate persuasively and effectively in legal contexts.

School Law

Discipline Law, Not Elsewhere Classified.

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 3 subject

Pre-requisite(s) LAWS 1009


Students must have successfully complete 40 credit points of Laws subjects before enrolling in this subject.

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this Subject, students will be able to:
1. Analyse the interaction between law and literature in the social context of a culturally diverse society.
2. Discuss the depiction in literature of the legal issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and how far these are relevant today.
3. Examine various underlying legal concepts and the application of the law within both historical and contemporary social, cultural, political and economic contexts.
4. Communicate persuasively and effectively within legal and non-law situations 
5. Evaluate and ethically use information from both legal and non-law sources in order to develop and support a sustained and persuasive argument.

Subject Content

• A study of the interaction between law and literature.
• Legal concepts, imagery and myths in literature.
• How literature and its social and historical contexts reflects the legal system of its time.
• The effect of literature on law reform.
• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ legal issues in Australian literature.
• Utopias, dystopias and the law.
• Plain English legal writing, the language of the law, semantics and drafting legal documents.
• Deciphering the language of judgments.


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
Proposal 200 words 10 N Individual
Summary 500 words 10 N Individual
Reflection 1000 words 35 N Individual
Essay 2000 words 45 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

Richard A Posner, Law and Literature (Harvard Uni Press, 3rd ed, 2009)

Teaching Periods

Spring (2023)



Subject Contact Jacinta Sassine Opens in new window

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