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 criminal law and the law of private obligations. Students have the opportunity to develop essential problem solving and communication skills with specialized knowledge and skills for research, which will equip them for high level professional practice and further learning in this important area.
Availability2019 Course Timetables
Newcastle City Precinct
- Semester 1 - 2019
On successful completion of the course students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an advanced and integrated understanding of both the foundational elements of, and recent developments in, the discipline of law as it relates to religious belief;
2. Generate and evaluate complex ideas and concepts at both a concrete and abstract level on law and religion topics;
3. Employ research principles and methods applicable to the both domestic and international law in the area of religious belief, and apply cognitive, technical and creative skills to investigate and analyse complex information and problems to apply the law to solve those problems;
4. Use high level oral and written communication skills to interpret and transmit knowledge, skills and ideas to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
5. Engage responsibly with those who have differing opinions on important issues in a professional and respectful way;
6. Plan and execute a research-based project with a high level of personal autonomy and accountability;
7. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of their own presuppositions and developed skills in critical thinking which will allow them to effectively identify and evaluate the validity of these and those held by others.
The topics in this course include the following:
- Background of the Western legal system in religious perspectives.
- Comparison of world religious perspectives on the law.
- Establishment of religion issues: relationship of church and state in the UK and Australia, internal rules governing religious bodies, privileges given to religious institutions.
- 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, areas where religion has become "suspect".
- Intersections of religion with other areas: eg criminal, private law.
- Role of religion in the life of the lawyer.
This course is only available to students enrolled in the Juris Doctor/ Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice program.
LAWS6000, LAWS6001, LAWS6002A, LAWS6002B, LAWS6003A, LAWS6003B, LAWS6004A, LAWS6004B.
Written Assignment: Seminar Participation & Written reflection paper
Essay: Research Essay
Formal Examination: Final Examination
Newcastle City Precinct
Face to Face On Campus 36 hour(s) per Term Full Term
The course is taught in intensive mode over 2 week, equivalent of 36 hours of face to face contact.