The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


5000 level

Course handbook


This course is different from the other courses that make up the LLB program. It is designed to facilitate students' thinking about law in general rather than learning detailed analysis of the legislation and cases consigned to a particular area of law. It will require students critically to consider the nature of law, its role in society, and various perspectives on and critiques of law.

This subject focuses on major theoretical traditions which have influenced the development of the Australian legal system and the broader Western legal tradition. The aim is for some level of depth rather than mere breadth, with an emphasis on analysis of primary theoretical literature and case studies.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2019.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate, orally and in writing, a critical understanding of major schools of legal theory which have influenced the development of the Western legal tradition and the Australian legal system.

2. Critically evaluate multiple and contrasting perspectives on law and engage in open-minded academic discussion of them in an applied context.

3. Critically analyse the relationship between law and society from a variety of legal jurisprudential perspectives.

4. Reflect on the significance of notions of rights and justice to the operation of law.

5. Conduct high-level research, exploring primary and secondary materials, and provide critical analysis of problems and questions.

6. Prepare and present cogent arguments, orally and in writing, and make productive contributions to class discussions.


Topics in this course include:

1. Introduction to Jurisprudence

2. Legal Positivism

3. Natural Law Theory and Anti-Positivism

4. Interpretivism

5. Rights and the Law

6. Justice and the Law

7. Legal Realism

8. Critical Theories of Law

9. Feminist Legal Theory

10. Economic Theories of Law



This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws and associated combined degree programs or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and associated combined degree programs.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS1010, LAWS1011, LAWS1020, LAWS1021, LAWS2030, LAWS3040, LAWS3041, and LAWS4011.

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Tutorial Paper

Essay: Research Essay

Formal Examination: Open Book Examination