LAWS13016 - Theories of Law and Justice

General Information

Unit Synopsis

Unlike prior units which focus on law as it is - 'black-letter' law - this capstone unit considers more theoretical, analytical, doctrinal and philosophical aspects of the entire law enterprise - a specialised societal subsystem. This unit canvasses several philosophical doctrines including: natural law, legal positivism, sociological context of law and economic analyses of the law. These and related topics are explored in this unit to enable you to integrate legal knowledge into the broad inter-disciplinary mainstream and equip you with enhanced practical legal reasoning skills.


Level Undergraduate
Unit Level 3
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 4
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

48 credit points of LAW units

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 1 - 2023

Term 2 - 2023 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. Critical Review 20%
2. Take Home Exam 40%
3. Research Assignment 40%

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 3.6 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 41.86% 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: Email
Clarity of what is expected in terms of assessment tasks.
Additional marking rubrics and guides as well as past student exemplars have been made available.
Action Taken
Moving forward, an additional orientation pre-recorded video will be provided to students to make clear which skills need to be developed and expectations and policy requirements around extensions requests.
Source: Email
Students have been appreciative of 'the design and delivery of the unit as an outstanding example of teaching standards.'
Additions to design and delivery to improve existing content material will take place.
Action Taken
Sustained - will be keeping the extra critical thinking videos and provide additional theoretical skills support.
Source: Email
Students have remarked at their surprise at witnessing a shift of their thinking where they have now come to believe in the value of legal philosophy for the practical legal space.
Mention of the practical relevance of Theories of Law and Justice will be scaffolded into zoom discussions, assessment tasks and learning material in future offerings of this unit.
Action Taken
Sustained - continued mention of the foundational relevance of this type of thinking to legal practice in future offerings.
Unit learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify and discuss various legal theories in light of their developments over ancient and modern times, giving consideration for the contemporary political and legal implications
  2. Demonstrate sound knowledge of the main theories of law, intrinsic disputes, core doctrines, common themes, main principles, premises and presuppositions canvassed in the unit and explain their ongoing relevance to contemporary legal systems
  3. Critically analyse the various theories of law by drawing on the relevant primary and secondary sources as well as prescribed reading and historic knowledge
  4. Develop a research question and undertake a suitable research project on one or more of the specific theories of law examined in this unit, drawing out the nuances between the theories and considering the logical implications by reference to reputable scholarly texts and knowledge learnt in this unit
  5. Demonstrate appropriate communication skills pertaining to critical reasoning: presenting logically coherent arguments in the relevant rhetorical styles: deductive reasoning, descriptive and normative reasoning, ethical reasoning and legal reasoning.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Critical Review
2 - Take Home Exam
3 - Research Assignment
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
8 - Ethical practice
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 - Critical Review
2 - Take Home Exam
3 - Research Assignment