LAW 3509 - Anti-discrimination and Equality Law

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2018

The course will cover aspects of Australian anti-discrimination and equality law at both Federal and State levels. Analysis of the law will be placed in a broader context: justifications for anti-discrimination law and the principle of non-discrimination will be examined. The scope of existing Federal and State prohibitions on discrimination, and exceptions to prohibitions, will be considered, as will mechanisms for enforcing the legislation and remedies. The course will make clear the assumptions that underlie traditional thinking concerning anti-discrimination legislation, and expose these to critical scrutiny. In previous years the assessment in this courses included a portfolio of a number of pieces of written interim work submitted by a group of students (25%), a peer and self assessed group work mark (10%) and a final take home examination (65%), however the precise nature of the assessment tasks and weighting may be subject to change.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 3509
    Course Anti-discrimination and Equality 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 1501
    Incompatible LAW 3014
    Assumed Knowledge LAW 1504, LAW 2501, LAW 2504
    Course Description The course will cover aspects of Australian anti-discrimination and equality law at both Federal and State levels. Analysis of the law will be placed in a broader context: justifications for anti-discrimination law and the principle of non-discrimination will be examined. The scope of existing Federal and State prohibitions on discrimination, and exceptions to prohibitions, will be considered, as will mechanisms for enforcing the legislation and remedies. The course will make clear the assumptions that underlie traditional thinking concerning anti-discrimination legislation, and expose these to critical scrutiny.

    In previous years the assessment in this courses included a portfolio of a number of pieces of written interim work submitted by a group of students (25%), a peer and self assessed group work mark (10%) and a final take home examination (65%), however the precise nature of the assessment tasks and weighting may be subject to change.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Ms Anne Hewitt

    Associate Professor Anne Hewitt coordinates this course.

    Anne's office is Room 329 In the Ligertwood Building, and she can be reached at:

    p: 8313 4453
    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, graduates will be able to:

    1. Analyse, evaluate and synthesise a range of primary legal sources to inform the provision of coherant and appropriate advice regarding the operation and effect of anti-discrimination laws.

    2. Apply anti-discrimination law to legal problems, provide advice regarding the operation of the laws in a range of practical scenarios, and critique the operation of anti-discrimination and equality laws from a policy perspective.

    3. Develop a persuasive written argument appropriate for both lay and legal audiences. Work and communicate effectively as an individual and as a member of a team in an extended group work activity involving the completion of multiple tasks.

    4. Demonstrate profesionalism in interaction with collegues during the completion of cooparerative activities.

    5. Exercise sound professional judgment in advising a client in an academic context. Engage with peers, clients and others in an appropriate and ethical manner.

    6. Engage in rigorous self evaluation of contribution to group work, and utilise feedback to improve assessed material. Reflect on the importance of individual background in the experience of discrimination.
    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
    Beth Gaze and Belinda Smith, Equality and Discrimination Law in Australia: An Introduction (2017 Cambridge University Press).

    South Australian and Federal anti-discrimination legislation will be referred to regularly. Students can access the legislation electronically.
    Recommended Resources

    Chris Ronalds & Rachel Pepper, Discrimination Law and Practice (4th Edition, 2012, The Federation Press).

    Neil Rees, Katherine Lindsay and Simon Rice, Australian anti-discrimination law (3rd edition, 2018, The Federation Press).

    Sandra Fredman, Discrimination Law (2nd edition, 2011, Oxford University Press, Clarendon Law Series).

    Nicholas Bamforth, Meleiha Malik and Colm O’Cinneide, Discrimination Law: Theory and Context (2008, Thomson Sweet Maxwell).

    Peter Cane, Carolyn Evans and Zoe Robinson (eds), Law and Religion in Theoretical and Historical Context (2008, Cambridge University Press 2008).

    Josephine Tiddy, It’s Just Not Fair: Overcoming discrimination in Australia (2001, ABC Books).

    Online Learning
    MyUni will be used to post announcements and distribute relevant course materials (including slides, and where available, audio recordings of lectures) and announce assignment tasks. It will also contain electronic copies of materials relevant to in-class activities and resources for assessments.

    Students are expected to check MyUni regularly to keep up to date with these materials and additional learning resources throughout the course.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Learning and Teaching Activities amounting to 36 hours will be offered to students in this course.

    The face-to-face teaching activities will consist of 12 x 2 hour classes, which will consist of lectures as well as interactive activities, in addtion to 6 x 2 hour interactive problem solving workshops. Students will be required to actively engage in a range of individual and group tasks during classes, including to discuss, debate and defend their analysis of the relevant material from course readings and lectures.


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

    The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This means that you are expected to commit approximately 9 hours of private study each week per 3-unit course in addition to your regular classes.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week Lecture Seminar Other
    1 Introduction to equality and discrimination Group A seminar
    2 Institutions, procedures and remedies Group B seminar
    3 Sex discrimination Group A seminar Foundational concepts quiz
    4 Harassment and vilification Group B seminar Role play assessment Task 1 due 15 August at 2.00pm
    5 Race discimination Group A seminar
    6 Reforming laws Group B seminar Role play assessment Task 2 due 27 August at 2.00pm
    7 Disability discrimination Group A seminar
    8 Minority rights and equality Group B seminar Role play assessment Task 3 due 12 September at 2.00pm
    Mid-Semester Break


    LQBTIQ discrimination Group A seminar
    10 Institutional discrimination, positive duties and affirmative action Group B seminar


    Equality rights into the future Group A seminar Role Play assessment Portfolio due 17 October at 2:00pm
    SPLAT assessment due 17 October 2:00pm
    12 Revision Group B seminar
    Specific Course Requirements

    Failure to contribute appropriately to your group in completing the group portfolio tasks

    If a student fails to contribute appropriately to their group, they will suffer a marks penalty that adjusts their mark for this item of assessment to a level commensurate with their contribution, and this lower mark will count in full towards their final grade. Information about how to work in groups, and the processes to be followed in the event of a failure to contribute appropriately, will be made available on MyUni.

    Your group work will be assessed through a peer evaluation. Completing the Peer Evluation will also be worth 10% of your final grade. Instructions about the peer evaluation process will be made available on MyUni.

  • 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 Weighting Due Task Type Redeemable Learning Outcome
    Foundational concepts quiz 5%

    Friday 10 August

    Individual No 1
    Role play portfolio (4 tasks with separate deadlines) 30%

    Task 1: 2.00pm Wednesday 22 August

    Task 2: 2.00pm Wednesday 5 September

    Task 3: 2.00pm Wednesday 19 September

    Final portfolio - Tasks 1, 2, 3, and 4: 2.00pm Wednesday 17 October

    Group No 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
    Peer group work assessment 10% 2.00pm Wednesday 17 October Individual No 4, 6
    Final assignment 55% 2.00pm Friday 2 November Individual No 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Assessment Detail

    Foundational concepts quiz (5%)

    In week 3 every student will have the opportunity to test their understanding of foundational concepts in the course via an online quiz.

    Role Play Portfolio (30%)

    At the end of week 2 each student in this course will be assigned to a group of 4-5 students who will work together during the semester to complete a number of exercises associated with a role play. On Friday 29 July each group will be assigned a ‘client’ who is (or at least, believes they may be!) involved in a dispute which involves anti-discrimination laws. Your group will be given some background information about that client and asked to complete 4 assessable tasks on their behalf. Each task has a clear submission date and time, provided above. Feedback on each tasks 1, 2, and 3 will be provided in a timely manner; however individual marks will not be awarded for each Task. Instead, teams will have the opportunity to revise the tasks and the 4 Tasks will be marked holistically at the conclusion of the exercise. They will be viewed as a portfolio of work, which cumulatively demonstrates your team’s legal knowledge, communication skill, and analytical capacity.

    The 4 Tasks which make up this portfolio are:

    1. A preliminary file note regarding the questions each group needs to ask its client, and a preliminary evaluation of their case;
    2. A letter of advice to the client;
    3. A communication to the opponent in the client's dispute; and
    4. A summary of a negotiation undertaken on behalf of the client.

    Each task has a word limit of 750 words.

    Peer group work assessment (10%)

    Each student will engage in a process of peer assessment of your group member’s performance in the group role play activity. This peer assessment will mark your ‘group work’ skills and contribution to the role play activity according to specific criteria, including engagement with the group, active participation in the role play activities, and value and timeliness of your contribution to the group’s portfolio of work. This assessment will be completed after the role play has ended. More information about how to evaluate team members will be provided in assessment instructions. You will only be assessing (and assessed by) those in your immediate group for this component of the assessment.

    Please note: If your peer assessment indicates that you did not make a sufficient contribution to your team’s completed tasks to validly share the group mark, your group mark will be affected. The extent to which your group mark is affected will be decided by the course coordinator based on the peer evaluations submitted and will reflect your contribution to the group assignment. If required team members may also be consulted about the extent of adjustment to the portfolios ssessment mark which is appropriate in the circumstances, but this will not be undertaken in each instance.

    Final assignment (55%)

    A final assignment, consisting of a limited choice and requiring completion of one essay and one problem question, will be distributed on Monday 22 October. The assignment will be due at 2.00pm on Friday 2 November 2018.

    A 3000 word limit applies for the assignment.


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


    Requests for extensions must be made electronically according to law school policy. 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.

    Turnaround time

    Feedback on interim assessment in this course will be returned to students within two weeks of the submission date. Written feedback to each group will be provided, from which students can learn in relation to the subsequent portfolio tasks and for the final assignment. The final assignment will be returned to students within 4 weeks of the submission date with individual feedback.

    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. Students must retain a copy of all assignments submitted.

    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).

    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 ( 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.

    Anti-discrimination and Equality Law was last taught in 2013. Substantial changes to the course content and structure have been made since that time.
  • 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.