Law and Religion

Course code LAWS5035Units 10Level 5000Faculty of Business and LawNewcastle Law School

The course offers an overview of the interactions between law and religion. It lays the foundation for the area by discussing the historical connections between the development of the legal system and religion in the West, surveys major world religious perspectives on law, and then explores in more detail the classic issues of “establishment” (to what extent is, or should be, religion given a privileged place in the law?) and “free exercise” (how does the legal system acknowledge and uphold the right of free exercise of religion and balance that with other human rights?) It also explores some of the intersections between religion and other important legal areas such as environmental law, criminal law and the law of private obligations.

Not available in 2015

Previously offered in 2014
ObjectivesOn successful completion of this course students will be able to demonstrate:

1. Developed knowledge and critical understanding of the topics covered in the course;
2. A developed capacity for critique on law and religion issues;
3. Advanced skills in analysis of primary and secondary legal materials;
4. Developed research skills for the preparation of oral and written arguments;
5. Advanced written and oral communication skills.
ContentThis course includes but is not limited to the following topics:

1. Background of the Western legal system in religious perspectives.
2. Comparison of world religious perspectives on the law.
3. Establishment of religion issues: relationship of church and state in the UK and Australia, internal rules governing religious bodies, privileges given to religious institutions.
4. Free exercise of religion: source of the right, nature of the “balancing process”, intersection of freedom of religion with other fundamental human rights and general legal regulation of behaviour, area where religion has become “suspect”.
5. Intersections of religion with other areas: eg environmental, criminal, private law.
6. Role of religion in the life of the lawyer.
Replacing Course(s)n/a
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeLAWS1001A, LAWS1001B, LAWS1002A, LAWS1002B, LAWS2003A, LAWS2003B, LAWS3004A, LAWS3004B (or equivalents).
Modes of DeliveryInternal Mode
Teaching MethodsSeminar
Assessment Items
Essays / Written AssignmentsResearch Paper
Group/tutorial participation and contributionSeminar Participation
Presentations - ClassWritten summary of presentation
Presentations - IndividualOral presentation on topics
Contact HoursSeminar: for 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Compulsory Components
Requisite by EnrolmentThis course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws and associated combined degree programs or the Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and associated combined degree programs.