Law and Society in Indonesia (LAWS3490)


This unit introduces students to the Indonesian legal system. After providing background on Indonesian history, economics, politics, religions and cultures, the course examines aspects of the colonial legal system introduced by the Dutch and the Japanese before Indonesia's independence in 1945. We examine the legal systems that emerged during the 50 years of authoritarian rule of presidents Soekarno and Soeharto, focusing on human rights violations, subversion cases, subordination of the judiciary and the role of the military. We then consider the legal and constitutional reforms of the post-Soeharto period, which have made Indonesia the most democratic and decentralised country in Southeast Asia. The course concludes with several case studies, including the position of Islamic and customary law in Indonesia, the legal ramifications of decentralisation, human rights and the Constitutional Court, corruption, and doing business in Indonesia.

Further unit of study information


2x2-hr seminars/week for 10 weeks


4000wd research essay (70%) and either a take-home exam or 20 minute class presentation (30%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules



Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.