LAWS 5006 Law and Literature

Credit Points 10

Coordinator Jacinta Sassine Opens in new window

Description This subject will examine the relationship between law and literature. Students will critically analyse works of literature that reflect the law and its social context, with the objective of developing research and analytical skills, as well as fostering a broader appreciation of the role of law within our society. In addition to providing students with an understanding of the historical development of the legal system through literary studies, it will also involve textual analysis of legal documents, judgments and literary writings to encourage students to engage with 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 Postgraduate Coursework Level 5 subject

Pre-requisite(s) LAWS 7061

Incompatible Subjects LAWS 3084


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

Learning Outcomes

After successful completion of this Subject students will be able to: 
1. Critically analyse the interaction between law and literature in the social context of a culturally diverse society to develop an understanding of the nature and effects of the Australian legal system.
2  Develop a critical awareness of the interaction between legal and non-legal writing, the legal system and the impact of the written word upon the experiences of law by cultural minorities, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
3. Complete a research project involving the critical analysis of the law and legal concepts as demonstrated in a specific work of literature.
4. Communicate persuasively and effectively within legal and non-law situations 
5. Develop a self-directed approach to learning that will enable the student to adopt and embrace change in both legal practice and the wider society.

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 1500 words 35 N Individual
Essay 3000 words 45 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

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

Structures that include subject