Public Law (LAWS5007)


This unit is designed to introduce students to the principles and structures that underpin constitutional and administrative law in Australia. It is broader than either of these subjects because its focus is on generic issues of governance and accountability, focusing on questions of power: what power is exercised by whom, from what source, with what limits and how and by whom is the exercise of those powers to be scrutinised. The unit begins with an introduction to the Constitution, its history, and the structures established by it, together with consideration of how to change both State and Commonwealth Constitutions. The unit then moves to consider the three arms of government and related concepts such as representative and responsible government. In the final topics for the unit, the various mechanisms by which the executive can be made accountable are considered, including by the Parliament, judicial review, and investigative tribunals.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Day stream: 2x2hr seminars/wk for 10 weeks. Evening stream: 1 x 3hr seminar/wk for 13 weeks


1hr interim exam (30%) and 2hr final open-book exam (70%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


LAWS5000 or LAWS1006


LAWS1004 or LAWS1021 or LAWS2002 or LAWS3003

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.