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Unit Summary

Unit type

UG Coursework Unit

Credit points

12

AQF level

7

Level of learning

Intermediate

Former School/College

Former School of Law and Justice

Unit aim

Identifies and evaluates some of the theoretical frameworks that inform legal knowledge and legal practice. Analyses a number of philosophical perspectives having implications for law, legal institutions and legal practices. Enables us to better appreciate the ethical and socio-political consequences of our practice as lawyers.

Unit content

Topic 1: Philosophical pursuits and the law 
Topic 2: Ethical and political frameworks
Topic 3: Traditional common law theory
Topic 4: Traditional jurisprudence: Legal positivism 
Topic 5: Traditional jurisprudence: Natural law 
Topic 6: Legal realism and Critical Legal Studies
Topic 7: Law and social theory
Topic 8: Poststructuralism, postmodernism and deconstruction
Topic 9: Feminism, race and colonialism
Topic 10: Historical and anthropological jurisprudence
Topic 11: Ecological jurisprudence
Topic 12: The concerns of legal theory

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

GA1: Intellectual rigour, GA2: Creativity, GA3: Ethical practice, GA4: Knowledge of a discipline, GA5: Lifelong learning, GA6: Communication and social skills, GA7: Cultural competence
On completion of this unit, students should be able to: GA1 GA2 GA3 GA4 GA5 GA6 GA7
1 identify the central concerns of both traditional jurisprudence and contemporary legal theory; Intellectual rigour Ethical practice Lifelong learning
2 critically reflect upon the philosophical assumptions that inform the teaching, learning and practice of Anglo-Australian law; Intellectual rigour Lifelong learning
3 critically appraise the relationship between theory and practice, in particular, the relationship between ideas about law and specific social, cultural, political and legal practices; Intellectual rigour Lifelong learning
4 identify and evaluate the ethical frameworks within which our practice, both as lawyers and non-lawyers, operates. Ethical practice Lifelong learning

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. identify the central concerns of both traditional jurisprudence and contemporary legal theory;
    • GA1: Intellectual rigour
    • GA3: Ethical practice
    • GA5: Lifelong learning
  2. critically reflect upon the philosophical assumptions that inform the teaching, learning and practice of Anglo-Australian law;
    • GA1: Intellectual rigour
    • GA5: Lifelong learning
  3. critically appraise the relationship between theory and practice, in particular, the relationship between ideas about law and specific social, cultural, political and legal practices;
    • GA1: Intellectual rigour
    • GA5: Lifelong learning
  4. identify and evaluate the ethical frameworks within which our practice, both as lawyers and non-lawyers, operates.
    • GA3: Ethical practice
    • GA5: Lifelong learning

Prescribed texts

  • Davies, M, 2008, Asking the Law Question, 3rd edn, Lawbook Co.
  • Wacks, R, 2012, Understanding Jurisprudence, 3rd edn, Oxford University Press.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.