LAW 1501 - Foundations of Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

This course provides a foundation in the core legal skills of case reading and analysis, legal research, statutory interpretation and problem solving.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 1501
    Course Foundations of Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate Law (LLB)
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible LAW 1001
    Restrictions Available to LLB students only
    Course Description This course provides a foundation in the core legal skills of case reading and analysis, legal research, statutory interpretation and problem solving.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Adam Webster

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    This course will be taught intensely in the first three weeks of term, with up to 7 contact hours in these weeks. Thereafter the course will be taught in a 1 hour lecture and a two hour seminar weekly until the end of week 10. A full timetable for the course is available on the MyUni course website.

    Both Seminars and Lectures begin in Week One. It is essential that students attend from week 1. Those who miss the first three weeks will be unable to catch up with the course and attendance requirements.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    The course introduces students to a range of foundational skills that are necessary for the successful study of law. A student successfully completing the course will be able to:
    1. Understand the sources of law in Australia including the development and operation of common law, precedent and court hierarchy, and the roles of parliament and the courts;
    2. Read and analyse cases, with an understanding of ratio and obiter dictum, and a knowledge of the methods that can be used to apply and distinguish cases;
    3. Understand some basic strategies that can be used to solve legal problems;
    4. Read, analyse and apply statutes using the appropriate methods of statutory interpretation;
    5. Conduct basic legal research, including by using legal databases to research case law, legislation and scholarly journal articles
    6. Appreciate the ethical dimensions of the role of lawyers, and the functioning of law and legal systems;
    7. Understand and discuss core legal theories;
    8. Work in groups to solve problems, prepare written documents, and prepare a presentation or debate on a topic in legal theory;
    9. Use legal citation conventions in the course of legal writing.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-9
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 1,5,7
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1-4, 6, 8
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 1-9
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 5
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-4, 7
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1, 6
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1, 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    • Cook, Creyke, Geddes and Hamer, Laying Down the Law (8th ed, 2012)
    • Foundations of Law, Lecture and Seminar Guide
    • Foundations of Law, Course Readings
    • Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) and Acts Interpretation Act 1915 (SA)
    Recommended Resources
    • Australian Guide to Legal Citation (3rd ed, 2010) Melbourne University Law Review Association, Melbourne (available for viewing on the web at and available for purchase, (eg, from Unibooks). A link has also been placed in the ‘Additional Materials’ folder on the MyUni subject website).
    • A dictionary of legal terms such as Lexis Nexis, Concise Australian Legal Dictionary (4th ed, 2011) or Oxford, Australian Law Dictionary (2010). Again this is a resource students will find useful throughout their degree.
    • A selection of additional reference texts have been placed on reserve in the Law Library. These texts are not essential, but might be of interest if you would like to do some further reading. For a list of the texts on reserve, please speak to the Law Library staff.
    Online Learning
    The course is supported by the Foundations of Law MyUni website. The website contains links to the following resources:

    1. Course information, including the Course Profile and the seminar and lecture guide.
    2. Course materials – such as items of assessment, lecture PowerPoint slides, and other course materials which will be posted from time to time.
    3. Lectures – audio streaming of lectures and video streaming of lecture slides will be posted (where available) under the Course Materials link as soon as possible after each lecture. (Please note: it can take up to 72 hours for the lectures to be uploaded.)
    4. Discussion Board – This is available for students to discuss the course among themselves and to communicate with academic staff in relation to administrative or substantive questions about the course.
    5. Grade book – where students’ grades will be entered for each assignment.

    MyUni will also be used to post announcements, and assignment tasks. Students are expected to check MyUni regularly to keep up to date with these materials and additional learning resources throughout the course.

    Students should also regularly check their email.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be taught intensely in the first three weeks of term, with up to 7 contact hours in these weeks. Thereafter the course will be taught in a 1 hour lecture and a two hour seminar weekly until the end of week 10. A full timetable for the course is available on the MyUni course website.

    Lectures and seminars commence in the first week of semester (week beginning 4 March 2015). To be eligible to sit the exam, students must attend 9 of the 12 seminars (see below).

    Lectures will be audio-streamed (technology permitting) and PowerPoint slides supporting the lecture will be available the day before. Seminars examine and apply the material addressed in the lectures and in the readings, as well as covering new material that is better taught in a ‘hands-on’ way, such as legal research. It is essential to prepare for the seminars by undertaking the prescribed reading for the week and preparing the exercises.

    Students must attend the seminar class for which they are enrolled.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    In addition to attending formal classes it is anticipated that students will do substantial independent work to prepare for classes and to complete the course assignments. Students should expect to spend about 4 – 6 hours a week reading and preparing materials for lectures and seminars. In addition, students will expect to spend between 4-6 hours attending Court and preparing a report, 3-5 hours preparing for and completing the quiz, 10-14 hours preparing the Analysis and Interpretation assignment, and 4 – 8 hours preparing the Group Debate. Students will require about 18 to 25 hours to prepare for the exam.

    The University expects full time students (those undertaking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Lecture Seminar A Seminar B  Assessment
    Week   1  Tues 4pm:
    The Concept of Law/Sources of Law
    Thurs 11am:
    Legal research and writing
    Introducing law school/planning your court report

    Understanding the concept of law
    Week 2

    Tues 4pm:
    The Legal Profession/Case Analysis (Part 1)
    Thur 11am
    Case   Analysis   (Part   2)
    Sources of Law Legal Research
    Week 3

    Thurs 11am: Statutory interpretation Understanding the legal profession/How to cite Case analysis (Part 1) FOL case report due
    Week 4

    Thurs 11am:
    Statutory interpretation
    Case Analysis (Part 2) FOL Research quiz open
    open Monday Week 4 9am until Friday Week 4 5pm
    Week 5 Thurs 11am: Statutory interpretation Statutory interpretation
    Week 6

    Thurs 11am: Legal Theory Statutory interpretation
    Week 7 Thurs 11am
    Legal Theory
    No seminar FOL Analysis and Interpretation Assignment due
    Week 8 Thurs 11am
    Legal Theory
    Understanding legal theory
    Week 9 Thurs 11am
    Revision and exam
    Understanding legal
    Week 10 No lecture Applying legal theory to practical problems: presentations/debates
    Week 11 No lecture No seminar
    Week 12 No lecture No seminar
    This program is subject to change. A more detail progarm will be posted on MyUni in O'Week
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Assessment   Item

    %  of     final   mark


    Group   or     individual


    Redeemable   in     the   exam

    Court   Report


    Due     Tuesday   Week 3    at   2   pm


    750     words

    Yes     redeemable   (40%   or     bona   fide   effort)

    Research Quiz


    To be completed between 9am Monday 5pm Friday Week 4


    10     questions

    Yes     redeemable   (40%   or     bona   fide   effort)

    Advocacy Exercise (Presentation/Debate)


    Week 10


    Yes     redeemable   (40%   or     bona   fide   effort)

    Analysis   and     Interpretation   Exercise


    Due     Tuesday  Week 7     at   2   pm


    1250     words

    Yes     redeemable   (40%   or     bona   fide   effort)


        50%   or   100%

    In     the   Examination   Period


    Exam     Period

    90     minutes  plus   10   minutes     reading   time


    Assessment Related Requirements
    1. Attendance

    To be eligible to sit the exam, students must attend 9 of the 12 seminars. If students do not make this minimum requirement for whatever reason (including ill-health, sporting commitments, etc), they will be required to complete a 500 word assignment for each seminar below the minimum (ie if a student attends 7 seminars, they will be required to write two 500 word assignments). The assignment must be to a satisfactory standard as judged by the course coordinator.

    2. Redeemable grades

    In order to redeem interim assessment marks a student must achieve 40% or a bona fide effort as assessed by the course  coordinator in the interim assessment.

    Marks achieved in the interim assessment will be added together and make up the interim mark in the subject. The interim mark will count for 50% of the final mark with the examination result making up the other 50%. If students are entitled to redeem their interim assessment mark, and they perform better in the examination, their final mark will be their examination mark (ie the exam will count for 100%).

    Assessment Detail
    Court Report (5%)

    Student groups are required to observe a South Australian Court while in session and each group must submit a report based on their observations that responds to specific questions. Instructions and questions to be answered will be posted on MyUni in week one. The reports must be submitted by Tuesday of Week 3 at 2 pm and are worth 5% of the grade for the course.

    Research Quiz (5%)

    Students are required to complete a 10 question quiz in Week 4 to test their research skills.

    Advocacy Skills - Debate/Presentation (10%)

    In the seminar in week 10 students will participate in an advocacy exercise. The exercise will take the form of a debate or presentation and students will apply legal theory to practical problems. This exercise will be conducted in groups.

    Analysis and Interpretation Exercise (30%)

    The Analysis and Interpretation Exercise comprises two parts. In part 1 students will be given a passage from a judgment in a case relating to legal and professional ethics, and will be required to answer questions similar to those modelled in the seminars on case analysis. In part 2 students will undertake a simple process of statutory interpretation in a form similar to the exercises undertaken in seminars. Detailed instructions with marking criteria will be distributed with the Exercise. The assignment must be submitted by Tuesday of Week 7 at 2 pm.

    Exam (50% or 100%)

    The exam is 90 minutes in length with 10 minutes reading time. It will be held in the University Examination Period.

    Submission requirements for each piece of assessment will be set out in the information provided when the assessment item is released. Students should read the information on MyUni carefully in relation to submitting each piece of assessment and follow the instructions.


    Extensions beyond the due date will only be granted in the case of serious and unforeseen incapacity. Extensions will be granted only for unexpected illness, hardship or on compassionate grounds in accordance with University Policy. Work commitments, travel, holidays or sporting engagements are NOT unexpected circumstances. If you require an extension, you will need to use the on-line application form available on Unified as soon as you are aware of the need for an extension, and before the due date of the assignment.

    The course coordinator will reply by email, determining whether an extension is warranted, what evidence is required to verify the student’s incapacity, and the length of the extension. Evidence of the incapacity must be submitted with the assignment, and must be consistent with details in the email requesting the extension. If the details of the request for an extension, and the medical or other evidence verifying the extension are not consistent in all respects, the extension is nullified, and the assignment may be penalised.

    All written work in the Law school is required to comply with the approved Law School style guide, the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.


    1. Late Submission: 5% of the total mark possible will be deducted for every 24 hours or part thereof that submission is late, including each day on a weekend. For example, an essay that is submitted after the due date and time but within the first 24 hour period, and that has been graded at 63%, will have 5% deducted, for a final grade of 58%. An assignment that is more than 24 hours late will lose 10%, etc. Hard copy submissions made after 5.00pm on a Friday will be assumed to have been submitted on the next business day and will be penalised accordingly.
    2. Word Length: Assignments which exceed the allocated length (word length ) will be subject to a penalty of 5% of total marks possible per 100 words or part thereof (ie with a word limit of 1,250, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 1,251 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 1,351 words long, etc). Words are calculated including all footnotes and headings within the text but excluding cover page information. Quotations and all referencing information are included in the word count.
    3. Failure to lodge a hard copy with a Turnitin receipt (where stated in the assessment instructions) will mean that your assignment has not been validly submitted and a special penalty of 5% may be applied.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Courses for which a result of conceded pass has been obtained may not be presented towards the degree requirements for the Bachelor of Laws or the Honours Degree of Bachelor of Laws programs, or any postgraduate law program, nor to satisfy prerequisite requirements within any law course.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

    Courses for which a result of conceded pass has been obtained may not be presented towards the degree requirements for the Bachelor of Laws or the Honours Degree of Bachelor of Laws programs, or any postgraduate law program, nor to satisfy prerequisite requirements within any law course.
  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
    The University Writing Centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local, international, undergraduate and postgraduate coursework students enrolled at the University of Adelaide.

    Practical advice and strategies for students to master reading, writing, note-taking, time management, oral presentation skills, referencing techniques and exam preparation for success at university through seminars, workshops and individual consultations.

    For more information please check out the Writing Centre website at
  • Policies & Guidelines

    This section contains links to relevant assessment-related policies and guidelines - all university policies.

    Plagiarism and other forms of cheating

    Plagiarism is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the Adelaide Law School Enrolment Guide, and should note in particular the sections relating to plagiarism, grievance procedures and academic conduct within the Law School and the University.

    Plagiarism is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Please be aware that “academic dishonesty” (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia to refuse to admit a person to practice as a legal practitioner in South Australia.

    Academic honesty is an essential aspect of ethical and honest behaviour, which is central to the practice of the law and an understanding of what it is to be a lawyer.

  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.