Available in 2021
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course is different from other Law courses. 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 to critically 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.

Availability2021 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 2 - 2021

Learning outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate orally and in writing an advanced and integrated understanding of major schools of legal theory which have influenced the development of the Western legal tradition and the Australian legal system.

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

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

4. Critically and with integrated understanding reflect on the significance of conceptions of rights and justice to the operation of law.

5. Conduct advanced research, exploring primary and secondary materials and provide critical and integrated analysis of problems, questions and theoretical propositions.

6. Prepare and present persuasive 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. femisist legal theory
  10. Economic theories of law


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Juris Doctor/ Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice program, or in a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) combined program.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS6000 Legal System and Method I, and LAWS6001 Legal System and Method II

LAWS6002A Torts Part A, or LAWS6120 Torts I

LAWS6002B Torts Part B, or LAWS6121 Torts II

LAWS6003A & LAWS6003B Criminal Law & Procedure Part A & B, or LAWS6130 Criminal Law & Procedure

LAWS6004A Contracts Part A, or LAWS6140 Contracts I

LAWS6004B Contracts Part B, or LAWS6141 Contracts II

Assessment items

Essay: Research Essay

Written Assignment: Tutorial paper

Quiz: In Class Quiz

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.