LAW 1501 - Foundations of Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2018

This course provides a foundation in the core legal skills of case reading and analysis, legal research, statutory interpretation and problem solving. It also introduces students to basic legal philosophy, and to some of the main critical theories of law.

  • 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. It also introduces students to basic legal philosophy, and to some of the main critical theories of law.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Francesco de Zwart

    Semester 1:

    Course Coordinators:

    Dr Francesco de Zwart
    Associate Professor Matthew Stubbs

    Lecturers:

    Associate Professor Matthew Stubbs
    Dr Francesco de Zwart
    Associate Professor Joanna Howe
    Christopher Davis

    Seminar Leaders: Details will be advised on MyUni.

    Contact details for consultation will be advised on MyUni.


    Semester 2:

    Course Coordinator: Dr Francesco de Zwart

    Lecturers:

    Dr Francesco de Zwart
    Christopher Davis
    Other lecturers will be advised on MyUni

    Seminar Leaders: Details will be advised on MyUni.

    Contact details for consultation will be advised on MyUni.
    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

    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1 Identify sources of law in Australia, analyse cases, apply principles of statutory interpretation, and undertake legal research at a foundational level using legal databases.
    2 Apply basic strategies to solve legal problems, and engage with legal theories to critique the operation of the law.
    3 Communicate effectively individually and as part of a team.  Work in collaboration with others to solve problems, prepare written
    documents, and deliver a presentation. Engage with team members in an ethical and professional manner.
    4 Exercise professional judgement in the application of case law and statute to solve legal problems.
    5 Analyse the impact of case law and statute from a policy perspective.  Appreciate the ethical dimension of the role of lawyers, and the functioning of law and legal systems.  Critically reflect on the operation of the law as a social institution in the context of Indigenous and theoretical perspectives.
    6 Reflect on their ability to effectively undertake work as a member of a team.


    The Legal Practitioners' Education and Admissions Council (LPEAC) sets rules for the
    academic requirements for admission to legal practice in South Australia.
    Students must demonstrate a satisfactory level of understanding and application
    of 11 core areas of legal knowledge. This course teaches the following topics
    within these core areas:

    ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY:

    Professional and personal conduct in respect of a
    practitioner's duty:

    (a) to the law;

    (b) to the Courts.



    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)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    2
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    3, 6
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    4
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • Able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    5
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    3, 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    • Foundations of Law, Lecture and Seminar Guide
    • Foundations of Law, Course Readings
    • Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) and Acts Interpretation Act 1915 (SA)
    • Robin Creyke et al, Laying Down the Law (LexisNexis, 10th ed, 2017) [the previous edition Catriona Cook et al, Laying Down the Law (LexisNexis, 9th ed, 2015 would also be acceptable].
    Recommended Resources
    • Australian Guide to Legal Citation (3rd ed, 2010) Melbourne University Law Review Association, Melbourne (available for viewing on the web at http://law.unimelb.edu.au/mulr/aglc/about and available for purchase). A link has also been placed in the ‘Additional Materials’ folder on the MyUni subject website).
    • A dictionary of legal terms such as LexisNexis, 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.
    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 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) on MyUni as soon as possible after each lecture. (Please note: it can take up to 72 hours for the lectures to be uploaded.)
    4. Discussion Forum – 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. Grades – 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. To be eligible to sit the exam, students must attend 9 of the 12 seminars (see below).

    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.
    Workload

    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 Presentation/Debate on Legal Theory and Indigenous Perspectives. 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
    Schedule
    Week Lecture Seminar A Seminar B  Assessment
    MODULE A: SOURCES, LAWYERS AND CASES
    Week   1  Wed 10am: The Concept of Law

    Thurs 2pm (2 hrs): Sources of Law / Doctrine of Precedent / Australian Courts
    Introducing law school/planning your court report


    Understanding the concept of law
    Week 2

    Wed 10am:
    Solving Legal Problems / McBain Case Analysis

    Thurs 2pm (2 hrs): Legal Profession / Re AJG Case Analysis
    Sources of Law and Solving Legal Problems Understanding the legal profession/How to cite
    Week 3

    Wed 10am: Introduction to Statutory Interpretation Case analysis (Part 1) Case Analysis (Part 2) Court Observation Exercise due
    MODULE B: STATUTES
    Week 4

    Wed 10am: (NOT recorded) Lecture/Workshop
    on Statutory Interpretation Problem Qu A
    Statutory interpretation (pt 1)
    Week 5 Wed 10am: (NOT recorded) Lecture/Workshop
    on Statutory Interpretation Problem Qu B
    Statutory interpretation (pt 2)
    MID SEMESTER BREAK
    Week 6

    No lecture No seminar Analysis and Interpretation Assignment due Monday 2pm
    Week 7 No lecture No seminar
    MODULE C: LEGAL THEORY AND INDIGENOUS PERSPECTIVES
    Week 8 Wed 10am: Law Through Different Lenses Legal Research Research Quiz: 3pm Friday Week 8 to 2pm Monday Week 10

    Indigenous Perspectives Quiz: 11am Wednesday Week 8 to 2pm Monday Week 10
    Week 9 Wed 10am: Statutory Interpretation Assignment Feedback Reconciling Indigenous and non-Indigenous understandings of law
    Week 10 No lecture Revisiting the story of colonisation and the clash of legal systems
    Week 11 No lecture Perspectives Presentation Exercise Perspectives Presentations
    Week 12 Wed 10am: Legal Theory and Indigenous Perspectives Revision and Exam Preparation
    **This program is subject to change. A more detailed progarm will be posted on MyUni in O'Week**
    Specific Course Requirements
    To be eligible to sit the exam, students must attend 9 of the 12 seminars (see below).
  • 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 Task Task Type Due Weighting Length Redeemable Learning Outcomes
    Court Report Group Tuesday Week 3, 2pm 5% 3 pages No 1,3,5,6
    Analysis   and     Interpretation   Exercise Individual Monday Week 6, 2pm 30% 1,750 words Yes (providing minimum 40% / bona fide effort - see below) 1,2,4,5
    Research Quiz Individual 3pm Friday Week 8 (4 May) to 2pm Monday Week 10 (14 May) 5% 10 questions No 1,2,4
    Indigenous Perspectives Quiz Individual 11am Wednesday Week 8 (2 May) to 2pm Monday Week 10 (14 May) 5% 10 questions No 1,2,5
    Advocacy Exercise (Legal Theory and Indigenous Perspectives Presentation) Group Week 11 10% Yes (providing minimum 40% / bona fide effort - see below) 1,2,3,4,5,6
    Exam Individual Exam period 45% - 85% 120 minutes, plus 10 minutes reading time N/A 1,2,4,5


    Assessment Related Requirements
    1. Attendance

    Students must attend 9 of the 12 seminars. Students should let their seminar leader know if they are unable to attend a seminar. Student will be expected to work in small groups in the seminars. Assessment tasks (such as the Court Report and Legal Theory and Indigenous Perspectives Presentations) will be conducted in groups.  

    Attendance at seminars in Foundations of Law is compulsory because attendance is essential to all students in the course being able to successfully develop all of the course learning outcomes. First, as Foundations of Law is the first course students will encounter in University legal education (and, for many students, their first exposure to legal education at any level), students will be challenged to learn about and within an entirely new discipline – this new intellectual endeavour requires active participation
    in the seminar classes by all students. Second, Foundations of Law is heavily front-loaded, with half of the seminars occurring in the first three weeks of semester, so it would be possible for students to get into academic difficulty without realising it if distracted by other matters and not attending classes. Third, students are required to form into groups from the very first week, and complete two assessment tasks in those groups (one during the final seminar class of the course), so it is essential to have all students in
    attendance to form and then develop their group, and complete these group assessments. Fourth, as Foundations of Law is the first course in the LLB program, attending seminars encourages the formation of good learning habits for the remaining courses in the program.

    It is each student’s responsibility to monitor their own attendance, and ensure they meet the attendance requirement.

    Staff will keep records of student attendance at seminar classes, and after the final seminar class any students identified as not meeting this requirement will be contacted by student email and informed of their inability to pass the course.

    The only exception to the attendance requirement is where a student is seriously impacted by compelling compassionate, medical or extenuating circumstances. In such case, the student is required to apply, in accordance with the University’s Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment Policy (which sets both strict substantive requirements for eligibility and stringently-enforced procedural requirements regarding prompt submission of applications with supporting evidence) for permission to undertake alternative work in lieu of attendance, which will be assigned at the discretion of the course coordinator.


    2. Redeemable grades

    The Research Quiz and Court Report components of the interim assessment are not redeemable.

    In order to redeem an interim assessment mark for the Advocacy Exercise or the Analysis and Interpretation Exercise, a student must achieve 40% or a bona fide effort as assessed by the course coordinator in that item of interim assessment.

    Marks achieved in the interim assessment will be added together and make up the interim mark in the subject. If a student does not redeem the mark for any item of interim assessment, the interim mark will count for 55% of the final mark with the examination result making up the other 45%. If a student is entitled to redeem their mark for an item of interim assessment, and they perform better in the examination, their examination mark will count for between 45% and 85% of their final mark in the subject, depending on which items of interim assessment are redeemed.
    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 around Week 9 to test their research skills.

    Indigenous Perspectives Quiz (5%)

    Students are required to complete a 10 question quiz around Week 9 to test their understanding of the material covered in the videos of the Indigenous Perspectives Module of the course.

    Advocacy Skills - Legal Theory and Indigenous Perspectives Debate/Presentation (10%)

    In the seminar in week 12 students will participate in an advocacy exercise relating to the Law and Society: Indigenous and Settler Perspectives module of the course. The exercise will take the form of a debate or presentation and students will apply legal theory and Indigenous perspectives 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 Monday of Week 6 at 2 pm.

    Exam (45% - 85%)

    The exam is 120 minutes in length with 10 minutes reading time. It will be held in the University Examination Period.


    Submission
    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


    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.

    Penalties:

    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.
    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.

    Finality of Assessment Grades

    Students are advised that Course Coordinators will not enter into negotiations of any kind with any student regarding changes to their grades. It is irrelevant, in any given circumstance, that only a minimal number of additional marks are required to inflate a student’s grade for any individual assessment item or course as a whole. Pursuant to the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policyand the Adelaide Law School Assessment Policies and Procedures, grades may only be varied through the appropriate channels for academic review (such as an official re-mark).

    Moderation
    In accordance with the University’s Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, course coordinators ‘ensure that appropriate marking guidelines and cross-marking moderation processes across markers are in place’ in each course. Procedures adopted by Adelaide Law School to ensure consistency of marking in courses with multiple markers include:
    • assurance of the qualifications of markers, and their knowledge of the content covered in each course;
    • detailed marking guidelines and assessment rubrics to assist in the marking of items of assessment;
    • sharing of example marked assessments at various grade bands across markers;
    • reviewing of selected marked assessments from each marker by the course coordinator;
    • comparison of the marks and their distribution across markers;
    • automatic double-marking of all interim assessment receiving a fail grade, and of final assessments where a student’s overall result is a fail grade;
    • the availability of re-marking of assessments in accordance with Adelaide Law School’s Assessment Policies and Procedures.

    Approval of Results by Board of Examiners
    Students are reminded that all assessment results are subject to approval (and possible moderation/change) by the Law School’s Board of Examiners. Assessment results at the University are not scaled. Under the Assessment for Coursework Programs Policy, students are assessed ‘by reference to their performance against pre-determined criteria and standards … and not by ranking against the performance of the student cohort in the course’. However, under that same policy, the Board of Examiners (as the relevant Assessment Review Committee for courses at Adelaide Law School) is required to ‘ensure comparability of standards and consistency’ in assessment. On occasions, the Board of Examiners will form the view that some moderation is required to ensure the comparability of standards and consistency across courses and years, and accordingly provide fairness to all law students. All assessment results are therefore subject to approval (and possible change) until confirmed by the Board of Examiners and posted on Access Adelaide at the end of each semester.
  • 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 (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) 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.

    The centre offers 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.

    Lex Salus Program
    Lex Salus (law and wellbeing) is an initiative of the Adelaide Law School aimed at destigmatising mental health issues; promoting physical, mental and emotional wellness; building a strong community of staff and students; and celebrating diversity within the school. It also seeks to promote wellness within the legal profession, through the involvement of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, as the official Patron of the program.

    Students can participate in the Lex Salus program by attending barbecue lunches, pancake breakfasts, knitting and crochet circles, seminars, guest speakers, conferences and other activities. Our Facebook page, website and regular all-student emails promote upcoming events, and have tips and information on wellness.

    Our Lex Salus YouTube channel also includes videos on topics like managing stress, and interviews with LGBTQ lawyers and their supporters which celebrate diversity and individuality. Students who commit to 10 hours of volunteering with Lex Salus in one year can have their service recognised on their academic transcript and through a thank you morning tea with the Chief Justice and law school staff.

    Student Life Counselling Support
    The University’s Student Life Counselling Support service provides free and confidential service to all enrolled students. We encourage you to contact the Student Life Counselling Support service on 8313 5663 to make an appointment to deal with any issues that may be affecting your study and life.
  • Policies & Guidelines

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

    Academic Honesty
    Academic dishonesty is a serious act of academic misconduct. All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Honesty Policy.

    Academic dishonesty is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic dishonesty (which goes beyond plagiarism) can be a ground for a refusal by the Supreme Court of South Australia 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.