LAW 7192 - Government, Law and Policy

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2021

Through a series of case studies, this course examines the legal and political mechanisms for holding the executive government to account, including administrative review of executive decision making. Students will develop a critical understanding of, and ability to work within, the legal and policy frameworks of executive government in Australia. Possible case studies include government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic; the Hindmarsh Island Bridge affair; anti-terrorism measures; and the regulation of migration.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code LAW 7192
    Course Government, Law and Policy
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Law School
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Semester or Intensive
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange
    Prerequisites Students without a Bachelor of Laws must have completed LAW 7177
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Anna Olijnyk

    Dr Anna Olijnyk,

    Associate Professor Laura Grenfell:
    Course Timetable

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

    1. Theory of government
    The rule of law, democracy, and government power and accountability

    2. The Executive
    The constitution of the executive – Governor-Genera/ Governor, Ministry, Cabinet, COAG, National Cabinet, Public service

    3. The Public Service and the Executive Government
    Roles of key public servants – Secretaries of State, Solicitor General
    Public service code of conduct

    4. Legal accountability
    Constitutional requirements for the system of government at the Cth and State levels
    Limits on Commonwealth and State legislative power, Federalism

    5. Political accountability
    The formation of the Executive in Parliament, mechanisms for keeping the Executive accountable through Parliament
    Parliamentary Codes of Conduct, Committees, Question time, Federalism

    6. Emergency powers – the legal and political limits
    Curfews, Political protest. Closing national borders and Australians overseas, Closing State borders and freedom of intercourse

    7. Freedom of Information

    8. Administrative review of executive action
    History and principles, Merits Review
    Public Investigatory bodies – ICAC, Ombudsman, Auditor-General, Royal Commissions, Human Rights Commission
    Making decisions under legislation, Discretion, Policy guidelines

    9. Judicial review
    Jurisdiction, Standing, Grounds of review, Remedies
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, student will be able to:

    1. Understand the source and extent of the powers of executive government in their constitutional context.

    2. Develop an understanding of the law related to holding government accountable for its actions and decisions.

    3. Critically analyse principles of administrative law and their application.

    4. Use a close reading of legal and theoretical texts in relation to particular case studies to understand a range of legal and policy mechanisms involved in constraining government action;

    5. Discuss and debate orally and collaboratively the theoretical propositions and legal problems related to the legal and political accountability of the Executive government.

    6. Identify scenarios that raise complex issues of government accountability and prepare an essay that combines independent research and an incorporation of the principles discussed in the course to explore those scenarios.
    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
    There is no textbook for the course. Students will be provided with a comprehensive teaching plan with required readings that follows the list of issues for discussion.
    Recommended Resources
    Judith Bannister, Anna Olijnyk, and Stephen McDonald, Government Accountability; Australian Administrative Law (Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed, 2018).
    Appleby, Reilly, Grenfell, Australian Public Law (3rd ed, 2018)
    Aronson, Groves and Weeks, Judicial Review of Administrative Action and Government Liability (6th Edition, 2016)

    Online Learning
    The MyUni website is crucial to the course. It will be used to provide information and structure the learning activities in the course via the course map.

    MyUni will be used to post announcements, post additional materials (including lecture slides and audio recordings of lectures) and announce assignment tasks. It will also contain electronic copies of the Course Profile, Lecture and Seminar Guides, and Course Materials.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    There will be a two hour session on Wednesday 4 August from 9-11am in Ligertwood 5.04 to introduce the key concepts and course structure.

    The course will then be taught over four days from 5-8 October, from 10.00am - 4.30pm.

    Each session will be interactive, combining presentation of material by the course coordinator, and seminar style discussion. Each session will incorporate a student presentation which will eb followed by an extensive question and answer session.


    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. 
    Learning Activities Summary
    1. The introductory session on 4 August 2021 will (a) introduce the key themes in the course; (b) explain how the course will be taught and assessed; and (c) allow students to meet each other and form groups for the group assessment.

    2. The required readings, to be completed before classes on 5-8 October, will cover the key themes of the course in more depth and explain the structures of government and mechanisms of government accountability.

    3. Mini-lecture videos outline key legal concepts.

    4. Classes on 5-8 October 2021 will apply the legal and theoretical concepts taught in the course to recent case studies. These will be interactive sessions, with students expected to prepare and participate.
  • 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 Length Due Weighting Redeemable Learning Outcome
    Group Presentation Group; Summative 30 mins During teaching sessions from 5 - 8 October 2021 20 No 1,2,3,4,5
    Essay proposal Individual, Summative 1000 words Fri, 15 October 2021, 9.00pm 10 No 1,2,3,4,6
    Research essay Individual, Summative 5000 words Wed, 17 November 2021, 9.00pm 70 No 1,2,3,4,6
    Assessment Detail
    Group Presentation (20%)

    Group presentations will be 20 - 30 minutes in length followed by 15 - 30 minutes in which the presenters will field questions from the course coordinator and the class. All members of the group are required to speak during the presentation.

    Presentations will be marked against the following criteria:

    a. Organisation and intrinsic interest of the presentation.
    b. Ability of group members to work collaboratively.
    c. Level of understanding of the topic as demonstrated through the quality of observations and comments.
    d. Use of external sources and the set readings.
    e. Understanding of how the presentation topic fits into the course as a whole.
    f. Ability of the group to answer questions from the course coordinator and engage in class discussion in relation to the topic.

    Research essay proposal (10%)

    The research essay proposal is the basis for the research essay. It must include a specific research question; a synopsis of the core argument of the paper and a preliminary list of research resources. The synopsis itself must be no more than 500 words in length.

    You can choose the research essay question on MyUni, or you can develop a question of your own. If developing your own question, you must discuss it with me and have it approved as an essay question.

    Research essay proposals will be expected to engage with relevant course readings as well as drawing on additional research.

    You are encouraged to discuss your research proposal with the course staff prior to submission. As well as assessing your proposals, course coordinators will provide direction on how the proposals could be amended for the purpose of completing the research essay.

    Research Paper (70%)

    For the 5000 word essay, students will undertake independent research that builds on from their research proposal. You are encouraged to discuss with the course coordinators any ideas or concerns you have about your essay.

    Essays are to be 5000 words in length, exclusive of footnotes. That is, the body of the essay can be up to 5000 words. Footnotes are to be used for references only.

    The research requirement:

    In addition to the relevant course readings, students must make reference to at least three additional significance sources. Examples of significant sources are peer-reviewed journals, major research reports of international organisations or government departments. This is a minimum requirement, and many essays will make use of more sources.

    Assessment criteria for the Research Essay:

    Marks will be awarded for the following:
    • Written communication skills: including spelling, grammar, punctuation;
    • Logical and coherent structure;
    • Accurate and appropriate referencing of sources used in the essay, using the AGLC referencing guide;
    • Depth of understanding of the issues discussed in the paper;
    • Quality of research;
    • Quality of analysis, including;
    o Ability to apply the core concepts and ideas from class discussions, set reading and external sources to answer the question.
    o Use of critical analysis in the answer to the question
    o Demonstration of balance in the answer, constructing arguments for and against the central propositions in the question.

    Essays will be assessed in their own right. It is fine if they deviate from the original research proposal. However, it is expected that essays will be an extension of those proposals and will respond to the feedback provided.

    Formatting Requirements

    The final assignment is to be a maximum of 5000 words in length inclusive of footnotes. 

    All written work in the law school is required to comply with The Australian Guide to Legal Citation available on:
    Please read the AGLC before submitting your paper and make sure you comply with it.
    The Research Proposal and Research Essay are to be submitted via the assignments link on the course MyUni website. Assignments do not have to be handed up in hard copy.


    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 the law school website ( ) as soon as you are aware of the need for an extension, and before the due date of the assignment.

    The course coordinator or an extensions officer 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.


    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.
    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 1,000, an essay graded 63% will have 5% deducted if it is 1,001 words long, for a final grade of 58%, 10% if it is 1,101 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.

    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.

  • 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 Integrity
    All students must be familiar with the University’s Academic Integrity Policy. Academic Misconduct is a serious matter and is treated as such by the Law School and the University. Academic Misconduct (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 Integrity 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.