Handbook

LAWS70217 Fundamentals of the Common Law

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2017:

February, Parkville - Taught on campus.Show/hide details
Pre-teaching Period Start 23-Jan-2017
Teaching Period 20-Feb-2017 to 24-Feb-2017
Assessment Period End 21-Apr-2017
Last date to Self-Enrol 27-Jan-2017
Census Date 20-Feb-2017
Last date to Withdraw without fail 24-Mar-2017

March, Parkville - Taught on campus.Show/hide details
Pre-teaching Period Start 15-Feb-2017
Teaching Period 15-Mar-2017 to 21-Mar-2017
Assessment Period End 16-May-2017
Last date to Self-Enrol 31-Jan-2017
Census Date 15-Mar-2017
Last date to Withdraw without fail 21-Apr-2017

July, Parkville - Taught on campus.Show/hide details
Pre-teaching Period Start 21-Jun-2017
Teaching Period 19-Jul-2017 to 25-Jul-2017
Assessment Period End 19-Sep-2017
Last date to Self-Enrol 26-Jun-2017
Census Date 19-Jul-2017
Last date to Withdraw without fail 18-Aug-2017

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.Show/hide details
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Feb-2017 to 28-May-2017
Assessment Period End 23-Jun-2017
Last date to Self-Enrol 09-Dec-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2017
Last date to Withdraw without fail 05-May-2017

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.Show/hide details
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 24-Jul-2017 to 22-Oct-2017
Assessment Period End 17-Nov-2017
Last date to Self-Enrol 09-Dec-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2017
Last date to Withdraw without fail 22-Sep-2017

This subject is offered as an intensive and in semester length format at different times during the year.

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.



Timetable can be viewed here.
For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24-26 hours
Total Time Commitment:

136-150 hours

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.

Prerequisites:

Students who are required to undertake this subject are advised to do so as early as possible in their course.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects:

Students who have a degree in law from, or are admitted to practise in, a common law jurisdiction are not permitted to enrol in this subject except with the permission of the Associate Dean, Melbourne Law Masters.

Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.

Coordinator

Ms Claire Kaylock, Ms Erica Grundell, Ms Judy Bourke, Ms Raelene Harrison

Contact

Lecturers

Intensive classes

Semester 1
Ms Raelene Harrison*, 20 - 24 February
Mr Simon McKenzie*, 15 - 21 March

Semester 2
Ms Raelene Harrison*, 19 - 25 July


Semester length classes

Semester 1
Ms Judy Bourke*, Monday classes
Ms Claire Kaylock*, Wednesday classes
Ms Erica Grundell*, Thursday classes

Semester 2
Ms Claire Kaylock*, Wednesday classes
Ms Erica Grundell*
, Thursday classes

*Coordinator


Email: law-masters@unimelb.edu.au
Phone: +61 3 8344 6190
Website: law.unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

Fundamentals of the Common Law is a foundational subject in the Melbourne Law Masters (MLM), which is compulsory for graduates in disciplines other than law and for law graduates from countries with a non-common law system. It provides students with an opportunity to acquire the foundational legal skills necessary for studying and working in a common law system, such as that in Australia.

The common law forms one of the two principal systems of Western law that, through colonisation, have spread throughout the world. Common law systems have a distinctive approach to understanding the sources of law, the role of law-making institutions, and processes for resolving disputes. These characteristics of the common law system have had a profound effect on the development not only of the societies in the countries in which it applied, but also on international law and practice.

The aim of this subject is to acquire basic foundational legal skills that will assist you with other subjects in the MLM program. The subject teaches students how to read, use and interpret reported cases and legislation. The subject explains the sources of law, what influences them, and how they influence the development of the common law. These aims are given in context of some contemporary debates on common law reasoning by assessing the role of the High Court of Australia. The subject focuses on developing skills in analysis and legal writing, the tools of the common lawyer

Principal topics include:

  • How to read and analyse a case
  • The concept and use of precedent
  • Evolution of a common law principle
  • Common law issues: judicial activism, separation of powers
  • The role of the High Court and an overview of the Constitution
  • The relationship between the Constitution, case law and statute law
  • Influences of other sources of law on the common law
  • How to read and analyse statutes
  • Approaches to statutory interpretation
  • Legal writing skills and expectations in the MLM program.

Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will be able to:

  • Read a case and identify the relevant facts, the precedential value of the decision, the legal concepts at issue and the legal principle determined in that case
  • Explain the sources of law and law-making power in Australia, including the relationship between the Constitution, case law and statute law
  • Identify and assess the influence of other sources of law on the common law and on the evolution of common law principles
  • Describe different approaches to statutory interpretation and apply these to read and analyse statutes
  • Explain the difference between a primary source and a secondary source of law and evaluate the quality of that source for use in legal writing
  • Construct a written legal argument in response to a topic, utilising appropriate primary and secondary sources as support for arguments advanced, with appropriate referencing using the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC).
Assessment:

Intensive classes

  • Interim assessment (20%) (due one week after the final day of teaching)
    • Case analysis (10%)
    • Review of secondary source (10%)
  • Research paper (80%) (due 8 weeks after the final day of teaching)
    • Case analysis
    • Research paper

Semester-length classes

  • Case analysis (10%) (due end of Week 4)
  • Review of secondary source (10%) (due end of Week 8)
  • Research paper (80%) (due 2 weeks after the end of the semester)
    • Case analysis
    • Research paper

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Prescribed Texts:

Specialist printed materials will be made available free of charge from the Melbourne Law School prior to the pre-teaching period.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information: law.unimelb.edu.au
Related Course(s): Master of Banking and Finance Law
Master of Commercial Law
Master of Competition and Consumer Law
Master of Construction Law
Master of Employment and Labour Relations Law
Master of Energy and Resources Law
Master of Environmental Law
Master of Health and Medical Law
Master of Human Rights Law
Master of Intellectual Property Law
Master of Law and Development
Master of Laws
Master of Private Law
Master of Public and International Law
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Tailored Specialisation

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