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This subject, which is situated intellectually within the broad ‘Law and Society’ approach to the study of law, gives students the opportunity to develop an advanced and integrated understanding of the historical, political, economic, religious and social context of, and influences upon, the often turbulent contests about the meaning and application of constitutional rights and freedoms in multi-cultural Malaysia. In doing this, the subject also provides opportunities to reflect critically upon the commonalities with, and differences from, the way that rights and freedoms are advanced, protected, or limited in other Westminster-style legal and political systems, including but not limited to, Australia. No prior knowledge of Malaysia is required and no knowledge of Malay language is necessary. Current and abiding issues will be studied through selected case studies covering topics such as civil and political rights in an age of terrorism; freedom of religion in a multi-cultural society; gender and sexuality rights in a plural legal system; the survival of customary laws and the recognition of indigenous native title; rights litigation and the role of courts, lawyers and civil society.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete the subject will be able to:
- Possess a deep and sophisticated understanding of the influences of political, social, cultural and economic factors upon the law and legal institutions;
- Be able to critically analyse, evaluate and interpret the reasons for significant areas of tension between competing rights claims within specific temporal and socio-political settings;
- Be able to demonstrate a detailed appreciation of the factors that assist, or inhibit, the capacity of legal institutions to defend and advance constitutional rights and freedoms
- Have a deep and critical appreciation of the usefulness and limitations of comparative analyses of rights and freedoms
- Be able to communicate their advanced and integrated analysis to expert audiences in an academic format, and to lay audiences in a plain English format.
- Demonstrate knowledge of a foreign legal system;
- Make appropriate and well-supported comparisons between the way different national legal systems promote and protect rights and freedoms;
- Research and explain how law and legal institutions are embedded in political and social institutions
- Formulate and refine a research question drawing upon a variety of legal and non-legal research materials;
- Present research findings orally, in plain English form and in a scholarly manner.
Last updated: 10 November 2019