LAWS11059 - Statutory Interpretation

General Information

Unit Synopsis

LAWS11059 Statutory interpretation has a specific focus on locating and using legislation, aids to interpretation, and deployment of interpretative techniques. In this unit you will learn how to determine whether the exercise of a statutory power is invalid if a condition or procedure regulating its exercise, is breached; whether a law has a retrospective operation; whether a statutory offence contains a mental ingredient to be proved by the prosecution (mens rea), and if so, what that ingredient is; the scope of a statutory power to make delegated legislation in the light of delegated legislation, which has purportedly been made under a power; and the application of a rule in any applicable charter of human rights. A law graduate should be able to give a reasoned opinion as to the appropriate meaning of a legislative provision which takes adequate account of the law of statutory interpretation. This unit meets the LPAB requirements for statutory interpretation.

Details

Level Undergraduate
Unit Level 1
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 4
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites There are no pre-requisites for the unit.

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 3 - 2022

Term 3 - 2022 Profile
Online
Term 2 - 2023 Profile
Online
Term 3 - 2023 Profile
Online

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Written Assessment 20%
2. Written Assessment 20%
3. Written Assessment 60%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 2 - 2021 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 4.6 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 43.16% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: Moodle surveys
Feedback
Clarity and consistency of assessment tasks.
Recommendation
A peer-review system for reviewing assessment items before publication has been implemented at the first year level by the year level co-ordinators. This will ensure more consistency and clarity in assessment tasks.
Action Taken
I self-reviewed the assessment items prior to publication.
Source: Email
Feedback
Students expressed appreciation for the 'detailed and constructive feedback' on assessment tasks which they believed helped improve their performance throughout the unit.
Recommendation
Continue to provide detailed individual feedback in addition to general feedback evaluating the performance of the cohort as a whole. Holding review sessions or posting academic videos focusing on the particular skills that need improving.
Action Taken
I provided detailed written feedback to students both in terms of their individual work and the performance of the cohort as a whole.
Source: Email
Feedback
Students noted that the 'content matter was challenging' due to the sheer volume and complexity of the area of law however, they still found the experience stimulating and rewarding. They expressed appreciation for the clarity afforded by the delivery and organisation of materials.
Recommendation
Innovate new ways of making complex material more accessible to first year law students by reviewing a common source of legislation to apply statutory interpretation principles learned throughout the term.
Action Taken
I encouraged students to undertake legal research and to access legislation from multiple platforms to ensure students gain access to the most relevant and authoritative information.
Source: John Milburn
Feedback
It would be useful to provide an overview of the expectation of students prior to commencement of the unit.
Recommendation
As some students take time to acclimatise to university study, encouraging students to participate in orientation process would be useful prior to commencement of this first year unit. That way, prior to commencement of the unit students would be encouraged to commence preliminary reading.
Action Taken
Nil.
Source: John Milburn and student feedback
Feedback
The introduction of an Academic Skills component to the unit has enhanced and improved the study experience of students.
Recommendation
The Academic Learning Centre (ALC) provided targeted support to assist with important educational skills for unit through the introduction of an Academic Skills Component and a bespoke Moodle site as support for LAWS11059 in term 2. That support included the introduction of materials and exercises aimed at improving students’ study skills and language skills while also introducing them to discipline-specific requirements in assessment (such as IRAC). Statutory Interpretation is a natural fit for this because of its emphasis on the importance of clear, precise writing and its emphasis on the grammatical and contextual construction of sentences. Ms Rachel Barber, Associate Lecturer in the School of Access Education at CQUniversity Australia became an important member of the teaching team in term 2 in her role as representing the ALC and advancing the stated ambitions, which were well received by me and students. I recommend that the ALC continue to have this important teaching component in LAWS11059.
Action Taken
Nil.
Source: John Milburn and student feedback
Feedback
The take-home paper for LAWS11059 in term 2 2021 was difficult, it was subject to a three-hour time imitation, and it was practically based.
Recommendation
Throughout term, I emphasised the need for students to apply learned statutory interpretation skills in LAWS11059 in a practical manner. That resulted in students being presented with a series of hypothetical scenarios that required them to consider actual, rather than theoretical, legislation to provide a statutory interpretation based response. Most students performed well in completing the task, but it was clear that some students had not participated live or viewed the weekly tutorials, struggled to provide a meaningful response. I recommend that this type of assessment regime continue, subject to ongoing notification by the unit coordinator to students advising of the likelihood of a difficult, practically based, take-home paper at the end of term.
Action Taken
Nil.
Unit learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Apply skills in locating and using legislation, aids to interpretation and deployment of interpretive skills
  2. Evaluate whether the exercise of statutory power is invalid
  3. Analyse whether a law has a retrospective operation
  4. Analyse whether a statutory offence contains a mental element (mens rea)
  5. Analyse the scope of statutory power to make delegated legislation
  6. Analyse and critically reflect on the application and interpretation of legislation, legislative instruments and related material.


Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 - Written Assessment
2 - Written Assessment
3 - Written Assessment
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
6 - Information Technology Competence
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 - Written Assessment
2 - Written Assessment
3 - Written Assessment