LAWS11065 - Constitutional Law

General Information

Unit Synopsis

LAWS11065 Constitutional law examines the organization, source and limits of Commonwealth and State powers, and the relations between the three branches of government at Commonwealth and State levels. In this unit you will examine State and Commonwealth constitutions and constitutional systems; the constitution and operation of the legislature, executive and judiciary; the relationship between the different institutions of government and the separation of powers; and the relationship between the different levels of government. This unit meets the LPAB requirements for federal and state constitutional law.


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 Co-requisite LAWS11057

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 2 - 2023

Term 2 - 2023 Profile
Term 2 - 2024 Profile

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 40%
2. Group Work 10%
3. Take Home Exam 50%

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 3.8 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 37.38% 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: Unsolicited email
"I do particularly enjoy Constitutional Law as a subject. I find it to be more philosophical than many of the other areas of the law, which appeals to me."
Continue to present contextual/theoretical/political issues in Constitutional law, rather than focussing on a purely technical approach.
Action Taken
I have prescribed a book entitled "Constitutional Law: Theory and Foundations" to ground doctrinal knowledge of the subject area firmly in history and theory. Workshops are divided into discussion time - where the theoretical implications are examined. And then the second half dedicated to application of legal principles.
Source: "Have your say" student evaluations
Textbook is very big and can be difficult to read, but study guides are excellent.
Consider making secondary textbook more central or setting less pages of reading per week.
Action Taken
Study guides are concentrated to clarifying the textbook. The textbook has been changed to one that is shorter and more succinct with a focus on case law.
Source: "Have your say" student evaluations
"Sustain - Current issues discussed in assessments. Tip of the spear!"
Continue to include discussion of current events and linking of Constitutional law to issues that are relevant/newsworthy.
Action Taken
Current topical constitutional issues are flagged and discussed in workshops and examined in certain assessment items.
Unit learning Outcomes

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

  1. Examine and apply the constitutional law principles through discussion of the Commonwealth's legislative powers, and Commonwealth and state relations.
  2. Identify and interpret the appropriate constitutional provisions and case authorities to support the application of constitutional principles to factual legal problems.
  3. Critically analyse the scope and application of rights and liberties expressly stated or implied into the Constitution, including those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
  4. Communicate effectively through writing or in collaboration with others regarding the impact of High Court decisions on the development of constitutional principles on the character of the federal system in Australia and the separation of powers.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4
1 - Written Assessment
2 - Group Work
3 - Take Home Exam
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
7 - Cross Cultural Competence
10 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures
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