Juris Doctor Unit of Study Descriptions

Elective Units of Study

Students must complete 42 credit points of elective units of study, comprising:
(i) a maximum of 36 credit points of units of study from Part 1 Electives
(ii) a minimum of 6 credit points of units of study from Part 2 Jurisprudence Electives
(iii) no more than 24 credit points of master's level units of study in the Juris Doctor

Part 2 - Jurisprudence Elective Units of Study

LAWS5147 Law and Economics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Professor Patricia Apps Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2 x 2hr seminars/week for 10 weeks Prohibitions: LAWS3036 or LAWS3447 Assessment: 2 x 1000wd essays on a set problem (30%), class participation and presentation (10%) and 2hr exam (60%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: This unit satisfies the Jurisprudence/Part 3 requirement of the JD.
The aim of the unit of study is to provide an understanding of the economic analysis of law and to clarify fundamental differences between legal argument and the analysis of public policy. The unit defines the role of government within the framework of welfare economics and examines the social and economic effects of legal regimes within that framework. Particular attention is given to the concept of a competitive market, to the available empirical evidence on market failure, and to the need for government intervention in response to market failure and its negative consequences for social justice. Topics covered include: theoretical concepts of social justice; social insurance; externalities and the environment; monopoly regulation, tort rights and remedies; asymmetric information, adverse selection and moral hazard with applications to medical malpractice; agency, corporate governance and managerial incentives; family law; taxation; and the measurement of inequality.
LAWS5154 Philosophy of Law

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Wojciech Sadurski Session: Intensive July Classes: Sydney 7x6hr seminars/wk for 7 weeks. Berlin: Taught intensively in Berlin from 19 - 25 July (tba). Prohibitions: LAWS3459 or LAWS3454 Assessment: Sydney: class presentation and 2000wd written report (20%), class participation (20%), final take-home exam (60%). Berlin: Pre-course 2000wd reaction note (20%), class participation (20%), 4000wd take-home exam (60%). Mode of delivery: Block mode
Note: This unit satisfies the Jurisprudence/Part 2 requirement of the LLB. Enrolment is by separate application to the Law School.
This unit of study will introduce the fundamental notions of jurisprudence understood as a theory about the aims, functions and values of law and legal system. It will aim to provide students with the critical understanding of the central issues in philosophy of law understood as a general, abstract, normative reflection on law as such rather than an examination of a concrete legal system. Nevertheless, the purpose will be to provide students with the conceptual means allowing them to conduct a critical scrutiny of particular legal systems and legal rules with which they are familiar. The course will consider, in particular (1) the notions of legitimacy, validity and authority of law; (2) the idea of rights and the nature of the rights discourse; (3) the justifications and limits of liberty rights; (4) the concept of justice, as applied to law, (5) the sources and limits of our obligation to obey the law, etc. The Berlin course will include guest lectures by distinguished German legal scholars on jurisprudential traditions and controversies in Germany
LAWS5168 Theories of Justice

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Kevin Walton Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x2hr seminars/week for 10 weeks Prohibitions: LAWS3077 or LAWS3468 Assessment: Structured class-participation (10%), reflections on readings (10%), 1500wd mid-semester essay (20%) and 4000wd final essay (60%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: This unit satisfies the Juriprudence/Part 3 requirement of the JD.
This unit of study aims to provide students with a critical understanding of contemporary philosophical debates about justice. The unit focuses on liberal conceptions of justice and critiques thereof. It examines various moral values in terms of which the law might be assessed. The moral values that it considers include liberty, community, utility, fairness and equality. Among the themes that it explores are the limits of and connections between these ideals, the prospects for their realisation in contemporary societies as well as the politics with which each is associated.
LAWS5169 Theories of Law

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Kevin Walton Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x2hr seminars/week for 10 weeks Prohibitions: LAWS3089 or LAWS3469 Assessment: Structured class-participation (10%), reflections on t readings (10%), 1500wd mid-semester essay (20%) and 4000wd final essay (60%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: This unit satisfies the Jurisprudence/Part 3 requirement of the JD.
This unit seeks to facilitate critical reflection on prominent responses of both philosophers and sociologists to a single question: what is law? Among the notions to which their answers refer (and on which the unit focuses) are power, class, patriarchy, norms, rules, authority, principles, convention, morality, adjudication and interpretation.
LAWS5171 Theories of Conscientious Obedience

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Kevin Walton Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2x2hr seminars/week for 10 weeks Prohibitions: LAWS3471 Assessment: Structured class-participation (10%), reflections on readings (10%), 1500wd mid-semester essay (20%) and 4000wd final essay (60%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: This unit satisfies the Jurisprudence/Part 3 requirement of the JD.
This unit asks whether obedience to legal norms is required by morality. It examines various arguments for a moral obligation to obey the law.
LAWS5175 Philosophy of International Law

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Michael Sevel Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2x2hr seminars/wk Prohibitions: LAWS3475 Assessment: Class participation (10%), 1500wd mid-semester report (30%), and 4000wd essay (60%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: This unit satisfies the Jurisprudence/Part 3 requirement of the JD
This course examines and evaluates traditional theories of law through the lens of their deployment in the changing context of world society and global governance. It has been supposed that there is no difference in kind between the law internal to a state, and that which exists in the global arena. But the rapid development of norms and institutions used in global governance over the last half century has cast doubt on this assumption. The course surveys leading theories of law and attempt to apply them to the vast and evolving array of international law-related activity. Topics include the nature and role of customary law, enforcement and compliance, transnational authority, 'hard' and 'soft' law, human rights, and international responsibility, among others.
LAWS5195 The Rule of Law and its Value

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Michael Sevel Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2x2hr seminars/wk Prohibitions: LAWS3495 Assessment: Class participation (10%), 1500wd mid-semester report (30%), and 4000wd essay (60%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) evening
Note: This unit satisfies the Jurisprudence/Part 3 requirement of the JD.
This course will explore the nature and value of the rule of law through a critical examination of classical and contemporary writings in jurisprudence. Among the problems we will consider are: What features of a legal system contribute to bringing about the rule of law? What is 'legality'? What is the relationship between the rule of law and the rule of good law? Is it always a virtue, other things being equal, to apply valid legal rules? How far is the rule of law consistent with the indeterminacy of law or with discretionary decision-making? Is the rule of law an 'unqualified human good'? Why is it good? Should the rule of law ever be sacrificed for the sake of other goods? What does the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index measure? Is it defensible from a jurisprudential point of view, and useful in determining the nature and value of the rule of law? Readings will include historical sources from the ancient Greek and early modern periods, contemporary essays in legal, moral, and political theory, and other primary legal sources.
LAWS5200 Law, Morals and Politics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Arthur Glass, Mr Robert Shelley Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x2hr seminars/wk for 10 weeks Prohibitions: LAWS3500 Assessment: Class-participation (10%) and 1500wd mid-semester paper (30%) and 3500wd essay (60%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: This unit satisfies the Jurisprudence requirement of the JD.
This unit reflects on the ways in which law, morals and politics are thought of within our tradition and in particular the connections and the tensions between legal positivism, Kantianism and liberalism.
LAWS5212 Law and Social Theories

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Deborah Whitehall Session: Semester 1 Classes: Taught intensively as 8x5hr seminars/wk for 8 weeks. Prohibitions: LAWS5162 Assessment: 2000wd reflective essay 1 (30%), 4000wd reflective essay 2 (70%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit of study introduces elementary approaches to social theory to understand how law and legal institutions regulate or influence communities in various localities or social-scapes: the urban; the local; the national; the state; the international; and the global. Each of these 'worlds' or social configurations present questions for sociological thinkers about the form and technique of laws; the interactions between law and other social institutions; the ideological missions of law; and how law supports or regulates the experience and expectations of justice, freedom, prosperity and peace. Sociological thinkers ask these 'big' questions for lawyers to prompt new thinking about what law does right and what is necessary for it to do better. Students will discover the writings of various 'classical' and 'contemporary' sociological thinkers (including Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Foucault, Bourdieu, Beck, Bauman and Sassen) in the contexts presented by various social-scapes or 'worlds'. The course will use various examples to encourage students to understand the relevance of social theory to them as lawyers. The unit does not presuppose prior knowledge of social theory. This unit satisfies the Part 3 (Jurisprudence) requirement of the JD.
LAWS5213 Philosophy of Criminal Law

This unit of study is not available in 2019

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Assoc Prof Arlie Loughnan Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2 x 2hr seminars/wk Prerequisites: LAWS5004 Assessment: Class participation (10%), oral presentationn (10%), 1000wd report (20%), and 4000wd research essay (60%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This course examines and evaluates theories of law through the perspective of the criminal law. It has been supposed that criminal law may be understood as an application of certain tenets of liberal moral and political philosophy. But the rapid development of criminal laws in Australia and elsewhere over the last 50 years and the co-evolution and fragmentation of notions of personhood, citizenship, and community challenges this assumption. The course surveys leading theories of criminal law and attempts to use them to critically assess the evolving mix of criminal law doctrines, practices and procedures in place in legal systems such as those of Australia. Topics include the nature of criminal responsibility, the moral limits of the criminal law, objects of criminalisation and legal subjectivity. This unit satisfies the Part 3 (Jurisprudence) requirement of the JD.

Part 2 - Master's Level Jurisprudence Electives

LAWS6187 Functional Analysis of Law and Soc Control

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Assoc Prof Alex Ziegert Session: Intensive April Classes: Mar 22, 23 and 29, 30 (9-5) Assessment: 1000wd research note (30%) and 7000wd essay (70%) Mode of delivery: Block mode
Note: Academic Profile https://sydney.edu.au/law/about/our-people.html. The unit is also available on a Continuing Professional Development basis https://sydney.edu.au/law/cpd/
This unit examines the largely diffuse concepts of social control and the functions of law and proposes a more specific approach to legal theory which incorporates the latest findings of socio-legal research on the social effects of law. As a result of this discussion, a more specific concept of social control and an explanatory assessment of the social effects of law, including its political use, are presented with their theoretical implications for legal and political systems and applied, as examples, to historically and societally varied situations.
LAWS6316 Theories of the Judiciary

This unit of study is not available in 2019

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Michael Sevel Session: Intensive June Classes: Jun 1, 2 and 8, 9 (9-5) Assessment: class presentation (20%) and 7500wd essay (80%) Mode of delivery: Block mode
The judge has long been an important legal actor in common law countries, but over the past several decades, there has been a rise in judicial power globally, with the proliferation of constitutional courts and the strengthening of judiciaries in countries around the world. This seminar will consider views in jurisprudence which examines the judge, the activity of judging, and the proper role of the judiciary within a legal system and a just society more generally. Among the goals of the seminar are to determine the nature of judicial obligation, how judges ought to decide cases, the arguments for and against judicial review, the role of the judiciary in establishing and maintaining the rule of law, and the relation between the business of courts, politics, and morality.
LAWS6338 The Nature of the Common Law

This unit of study is not available in 2019

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Michael Sevel Session: Intensive May Classes: May 11, 12 and 18, 19 (9-5) Assessment: assignment (20%) and 7000wd essay (80%) or 8000wd essay (100%) Mode of delivery: Block mode
The common law is an essential part of the Australian legal system, as well as many others around the world. This unit of study examines the nature of the common law from the point of view of jurisprudence. We will begin with a survey of the classic Common Law Theories developed in England during the seventeenth century; from there, a variety of problems surrounding the common law which these theories made salient, and which still puzzle us today, will be examined. Topics include: the nature and authority of precedent, the distinctiveness of legal reasoning, the nature and questions surrounding the validity of customary law, the relation between the common law and the ideal of the rule of law, among others.
LAWS6827 Legal Responsibility and Philosophy of Mind

This unit of study is not available in 2019

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Adj Prof Christopher Birch Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2-hr lecture/week Assessment: class participation exercise (20%) and 6000wd essay (80%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) evening
Many legal doctrines in both criminal and civil law depend upon being able to characterise conduct as intentional, leading to ascriptions of fault, blame or responsibility. Most serious criminal offences depend upon establishing mens rea as a relevant mental element. Civil liability is often dependent upon whether conduct was intended, or whether the cause of loss was brought about by either intentional conduct or conduct involving some lesser notion of fault. All of these doctrines make important assumptions about the nature of our mental states and the operation of mind. Many of these assumptions are philosophically controversial and current developments in the philosophy of mind may lead us to reconsider or radically revise our attitudes to the law. The unit will look at contemporary philosophical work on free will consciousness, mind, and causation and apply this work to present problems in regard to concepts of legal responsibility.
Textbooks
Lowe, EJ An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, Cambridge U.P., Cambridge 2000
LAWS6837 Morals and the Analysis of Legal Doctrine

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Adj Prof Christopher Birch Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2-hr lecture/week Prohibitions: JURS6023 or JURS6022 Assessment: structured class presentation (20%) and 7000wd essay (80%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) evening
Note: Academic Profile https://sydney.edu.au/law/about/our-people.html. The unit is also available on a Continuing Professional Development basis https://sydney.edu.au/law/cpd/
The unit will seek to analyse the central concepts of some of the main areas of civil law, including tort, contract and property from the perspective of a number of contemporary moral theories. The unit will examine the work of moral philosophers in the fields of distributive and corrective justice such as John Rawls, Jules Coleman and Ernest Weinrib. The unit will also consider theories associated with the economic analysis movement in legal philosophy, especially the theories of Richard Posner. The unit will apply moral theories on the one hand, and rational action theories such as the economic analysis view of law on the other, to better understand legal doctrine. In addition to property, contract and civil wrongs, the unit will look at constitutional structures and international law. While considering a wide variety of legal doctrines, the focus of the unit will always be on the way these doctrines are better understood from the perspective of theories of justice or versions of rational action theory.