LAW 2504 - Administrative Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2018

The 4 main aims of the course are: 1) to teach the basic principles that govern review of administrative action by courts and tribunals; 2) to provide a critical analysis of that system; 3) to teach students to apply those principles in complex factual situations; 4) to teach students to interpret statutes while problem solving. A particular focus is placed upon judicial review, including its fundamental concepts of jurisdiction, ultra vires, and procedural fairness. The course will also cover review 'on the merits' by administrative tribunals. The practical significance of the course in substantive areas such as freedom of information and planning regulation is emphasised. Topics include: State and Commonwealth avenues of review; the distinction between judicial review and review 'on the merits'; error of law and error of fact; justiciability and standing; procedural fairness; ultra vires and abuse of discretion; jurisdictional error, privative clauses and judicial review remedies.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 2504
    Course Administrative Law
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 2
    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
    Prerequisites LAW 1504
    Incompatible LAW 2002
    Restrictions Available to LLB students only
    Course Description The 4 main aims of the course are: 1) to teach the basic principles that govern review of administrative action by courts and tribunals; 2) to provide a critical analysis of that system; 3) to teach students to apply those principles in complex factual situations; 4) to teach students to interpret statutes while problem solving. A particular focus is placed upon judicial review, including its fundamental concepts of jurisdiction, ultra vires, and procedural fairness. The course will also cover review 'on the merits' by administrative tribunals. The practical significance of the course in substantive areas such as freedom of information and planning regulation is emphasised.
    Topics include: State and Commonwealth avenues of review; the distinction between judicial review and review 'on the merits'; error of law and error of fact; justiciability and standing; procedural fairness; ultra vires and abuse of discretion; jurisdictional error, privative clauses and judicial review remedies.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Judith Bannister

    Judith Bannister (coordinator)
    Telephone: 8313 34578 (work)

    Paul Leadbeter
    Telephone: 8313 34441 (work)

    Anna Olijnyk
    Telephone: 831 37166 (work)

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1. Analyse the advanced principles of administrative law, undertake self-directed legal research at an intermediate level, and evaluate complex legal information, with a particular emphasis upon legislation.
    2. Apply administrative law principles to complex legal problems and critique the operation of administrative law from a theoretical perspective, through individual work.
    3. Structure and sustain concise and cohesive written arguments for a legal audience.
    4. Conduct legal research and analyse government decision making.
    5. Analyse the impact and operation of administrative law from policy perspectives and identify and explain government accountability for the exercise of public power.
    6. Reflect on their abilities to effectively undertake work as an administrative decision maker, or to challenge administrative decisions.
    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 (known as the "Priestley" topics).  This course is designed to complete students’ understandings of the following Priestley Topics for Administrative Law:
    * Common law and statutory avenues of judicial review at Commonwealth and State level
    * Grounds of judicial review
    * Remedies
    * Administrative Appeals Tribunal
    * Statutory Review
    * Freedom of Information

    Note the following topics will be covered by students in the subjects Principles of Public Law and Constitutional law:
    Topic 1: Organisation and Structure of the Administration; Topic 2: Administrative Law Theory; Topic 6: Crown Immunity.

    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)
    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
    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
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    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
    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
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Judith Bannister, Gabrielle Appleby and Anna Olijnyk, Government Accountability; Australian Administrative Law (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

    Please note: although this text book may be available for purchase as an e-book, you will not be permitted to take an e-book into the
    examination in this course.

    You will be expected to be familiar with the details of relevant legislation, in particular the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth); Judiciary Act 1903 (Cth); Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (Cth); and South Australian Civil and Adminsitrative Tribunal Act 2013 (SA). You can access these statutes free via the Law Library web page.

    Lecture and Seminar Readings and Seminar Questions will be available free of charge from the Image and Copy Centre and posted on MyUni.

    Recommended Resources
    The leading text in Administrative Law is Mark Aronson and Matthew Groves, Judicial Review of Administrative Action, (Thomson Reuters, 6th ed, 2017). This is an excellent work and, although it does not cover the entire course, it usefully supplements the prescribed materials with a more detailed theoretical treatment of the complexities of judicial review.  Students are well advised to consult this text throughout the year.

    We encourage you to explore for yourself the large and growing administrative law literature. Two Australian journals particularly devoted to administrative law are the Public Law Review and the Australian Journal of Administrative Law, though generalist journals such as the Federal Law Review frequently contain relevant articles. The United Kingdom journal Public Law is also valuable. There are also many relevant collections of essays and government reports, which are in the library. Particular mention should be made of the publications of the Australian Institute of Administrative Law (AIAL). This organization publishes the AIAL Forum 3-4 times annually, containing a range of articles on administrative law issues. The AIAL also holds an annual national administrative law conference, the proceedings of which it also publishes. 

    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used to post announcements, post additional lecture materials (including slides) and announce assignment tasks. It will also contain electronic copies of the Course Information, Lecture and Seminar Guides, and Course Materials and a Question and Answer forum.

    Students are expected to check MyUni regularly to keep up to date with these materials and additional learning resources throughout the course.

    Course Website:
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures supported by problem-solving seminars developing material covered in lectures. Technology permitting, all lectures except week 12 (which is a student directed Q&A session) will be recorded and posted on MyUni. Recording of seminars is not permitted because students should be free to participate without concerns about being recorded.

    Seminars are a critical component of your learning in this course.  The communication skills developed in seminars by regularly and actively participating in discussions are considered to be most important by the School and are highly regarded by employers and professional bodies. Most importantly, if you choose not to attend seminars, you will miss out on a good deal of the course material.

    This course will also have a virtual lecture option. If you enrol in the virtual lecture, you will be able to access all lectures week by week via MyUni. 

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

    Contact time: attend 2 hours lectures plus 1 hour seminar each week.  This amounts to 36 hours of formal class time across the semester.

    Preparation time: 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.  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 Lectures Seminars
    Week 1 Introduction to Administrative Law
    • Administrative decision-making powers and discretions
    • Providing reasons
    • Freedom of Information
    • Statutory Interpretation
    Seminar No 1
    Administrative decision making - make a FOI decision and give your reasons
    Week 2 Merits Review
    • Commonwealth and
    • South Australia
    Seminar No 2
    Freedom of information
    Week 3 Findings of law and fact
    Statutory reviews on questions of law

    Seminar No 3
    South Australian Merits review
    Week 4 Introduction to Judicial review
    • Common Law and AD(JR) Act
    • Justiciability
    • Jurisdictional error
    • Standing
    Seminar No 4
    Statutory reviews on questions of law
    Statutory interpretation to determine jurisdiction
    Week 5 Grounds of judicial review
    Procedural fairnessHearing rule and bias
    Seminar No 5
    How to approach a judicial review problem
    Introduction to judicial review
    Week 6 Grounds of judicial review
    Acting beyond the scope of a power
    Seminar No 6
    Grounds of review –
    Procedural fairness
    Week 7 Grounds of judicial review
    Improper exercise of power
    Seminar No 7
    Various grounds of review
    Week 8 Consequences of unlawful action
    Seminar No 8
    Various grounds of review
    Week 9 Delegated Legislation Seminar No 9
    Consequences of unlawful action
    Week 10 Jurisdictional error revisited
    Privative and no-invalidity clauses
    Seminar No 10
    Delegated Legislation
    Week 11 Assignment feedback / exam revision Seminar No 11
    Revision - exam preparation
    Week 12 No Lecture Seminar No 12
    Revision - exam preparation
    Week 13 Student directed Q&A  (note this will not be recorded)
    Specific Course Requirements
    There are no additional requirements for completion of this course other than described elsewhere in this document.
  • 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 % of final mark Due Dates Length Redeemable Learning Outcomes
    Online statutory interpretation quiz Individual 5% 2pm Tuesday, 2 October 10 questions NO 1
    Administrative decision making, statutory interpretation, and freedom of information exercise Individual 40%

    2pm Monday, 20th August 2500 words Yes 1, 4, 5, 6
    Exam Individual 55% (or 95%) Exam Period Semester 2 1.5 hours + 10 minutes reading time NO 2, 3,6
    Assessment Detail
    1. Online quiz 5%
    10 question online quiz on statutory interpretation. Compulsory and NOT redeemable. Students who fail to submit will receive 0 for this component.

    2. Administrative decision making, statutory interpretation and freedom of information exercise 40%
    This assessment is redeemable but MUST be submitted. Students must achieve at least 40%, or a bona fide effort as assessed by the  course coordinator, for the assessment to be redeemable.

    3.  Final Exam 55% (or 95% if interim assessment is redeemed).
    There will be a 1.5 hour exam (with an additional 10 minutes reading time). The  examination will consist of compulsory problem style questions  covering the judicial review and merits review sections of the course.

    The assignment must be submitted in electronic form through Turnitin on MyUni.

    Students must retain a copy of the assignment submitted. 

    All references must be appropriately cited in order to acknowledge sources, and avoid plagiarism.

    Students should ensure that when citing material they comply with the Australian Guide to Legal Citation.

    Late Submission Penalties

    When an assessment is submitted after the due date, without an extension, 5% of the total mark possible will be deducted for every 24 hours or part thereof that it is late, including each day on a weekend and public holidays. 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 essay that is more than 24 hours late will lose 10%, etc.

    Word Length Penalties

    5% of the total mark possible for a written assessment will be deducted for every 100 words (or part thereof) by which it exceeds a stipulated word limit. For example, a 3,000 word essay graded at 63% will have 5% deducted if it is between 3,001 and 3,100 words long for a final mark of 58%. If the essay is between 3,101 and 3,200 words long, 10% will be deducted for a final mark of 53%, etc. Word limits include all words in the text, in headings, in quotations, but exclude citations in footnotes. Any separate cover page, table of contents, bibliography or list of sources is excluded from the word limit. If the word limit is misstated, this may be regarded as academic dishonesty.
    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.

    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).

    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.

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

  • 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.

    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.