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Law and Public Administration (LAWS90119)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2018
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeLAWS90119
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject will address a selection of the most significant and cutting edge issues in the law governing public administration. Importantly the subject will take a contextual approach, placing administrative law principles in the context of the administrative processes they are designed to regulate, and considering the role of law in the design and working of government administration. It will seek to consider cutting edge issues in administrative law not only through the lens of legal analysis but also from the perspective of public officials, who are the addressees of and must work with administrative law principles. The subject will focus on the law of Australia and other common law jurisdictions.

The subject is divided into three parts. Part one, on decision-making, will address the distinction and interrelationship between discretion and rules, including the use and legal status of government policy and official guidance; administrative procedures, including in terms of e-governance; and the place of good governance values in government rule-making, including values of transparency, accountability and participation. Part two, on judicial-executive relations, will consider government strike-back against judicial decisions, both in the context of judicial review and public authority liability, and the interplay between judicial review and government resource allocation. Part three, on ‘new principles, new challenges’, will critically examine and chart the implications for public administration of emergent doctrines such as proportionality, legitimate expectations and duties of consultation.

The subject will be of interest to lawyers with interests in public law, and of especial interest to lawyers working in or who advise government, and to anyone with an interest in how law frames and operates within public administration.

Principal topics include:

  • Administrative decision-making
    • Administrative discretion and rules, with a case study on the use and legal status of administrative policy and guidance
    • Administrative decision-making procedures and the role of legal norms
    • Government rule-making and good governance values including transparency, accountability and participation
  • Judicial-government relations
    • Government responses to judicial decisions and the impact of judicial decisions on public administration, with cases studies in judicial review and government liability
    • Judicial review and government resource allocation
  • New principles, new challenges
    • Emergent doctrines and their implications for public administration, with case studies on proportionality, legitimate expectations and duties of consultation.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the role of law in the design and working of public administration, including recent developments
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of laws, institutions and practices in the field of public administration
  • Be an engaged participant in debates on the law, institutions and practices of public administration in the Australian and other common law legal systems
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the factors and processes that drive change in the law governing, and practices of public administration
  • Have a sophisticated understanding of the interrelationship between law and public administration
  • Be aware, at an advanced level, of the impacts of law and judicial decisions on public administration, and of government responses to judicial decisions
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to the legal framework of public administration and to critically evaluate existing theories, principles and practices
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging questions in relation to the legal framework of public administration
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding the subject to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Last updated: 29 March 2019