Constitutional Law

10 Units

In addition to canvassing specialised principles of constitutional law, this course straddles several disciplines, including political theory, legal history and political science. Students will learn about how conflicts between federal and state law are resolved in the Australian federal system, the nature, scope and impact of some important legislative powers of the Commonwealth government, the concept of separation of judicial power and the nature of the express and implied rights contained in the Australian Constitution. The methods for changing the constitution and the historical legacy of specific initiatives to reform the Constitution and our system of government are also critically examined. Other topics will vary to reflect significant contemporary developments in constitutional law.

Faculty Faculty of Business and Law
School Newcastle Law School
Availability Semester 1 - 2017 (Callaghan)
Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate advanced understanding of the key concepts and principles of Australian constitutional law.
  2. Critically examine how conflicts between federal and state law are resolved under Section 109 of the constitution.
  3. Demonstrate advanced and integrated knowledge and understanding of the nature, scope and impact of some important legislative powers of the Commonwealth.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical and political reasons for adopting Section 92 (Freedom of Interstate Trade and Commerce) of the Constitution.
  5. Apply advanced understanding of the rights expressly provided for in the Constitution.
  6. Apply advanced understanding of various proposals for constitutional reform as well as arguments in favour of, and against, such proposals.
  7. Demonstrate advanced development in the skills of legal research, oral and written communication, and critical analysis of primary and secondary legal materials in preparation of persuasive arguments.
  8. Analyse and evaluate competing policy considerations.

The content in this course includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. The Nature of the Australian Constitution
  2. Themes in the Australian Constitution
  3. Principles of Constitutional Interpretation
  4. Australian Federalism
  5. Inconsistency and Section 109
  6. Characterisation
  7. Legislative Powers of the Commonwealth
  8. Judicial Power of the Commonwealth
  9. Freedom of Interstate Trade and Commerce
  10. Express Rights and Freedoms
  11. Implied Freedom of Political Communication
  12. Constitutional Change
  13. Comparative Perspectives on Constitutional Law
  • This course is only available to students enrolled in the Juris Doctor/ Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice program.
Assumed Knowledge LAWS6001, LAWS6002A, LAWS6002B, LAWS6003A, LAWS6003B, LAWS6004A, LAWS6004B, LAWS6005
Assessment Items
  • Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Class Participation in Tutorial Engagement/Exercises
  • In Term Test: Mid Semester Take Home Examination
  • Formal Examination: Formal Examination

Contact Hours


Online Activity

Face to Face Off Campus 2 hour(s) per Term


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks

Timetable 2017 Course Timetables for LAWS6006
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