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: 1000wd essay on a set problem (15%), take-home assignement (15%), 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 August Classes: Taught intensively in Berlin from 23 - 29 July (tbc). Prohibitions: LAWS3459 or LAWS3454 Assessment: Pre-course 2000wd reaction note (20%, to be submitted by 8 July), class participation (20%), 4000wd take-home exam (60%, to be submitted in the end of July or beginning of August, tbc). 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.
LAWS5171 Theories of Conscientious Obedience

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Kevin Walton Session: Semester 1 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: 1 x 3hr seminar/week for 13 weeks Prohibitions: LAWS3475 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 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) day
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 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x2hr seminars/wk for 10 weeks Prohibitions: LAWS3500 Assessment: 1500wd mid-semester paper (30%) and 4000wd essay (70%). Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
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 over one day per week (approximately 6 hours) for 7 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.
LAWS5217 The History of Legal Thought

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Coel Kirkby Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2 x 2hr seminars/wk Assessment: 1500wd reflective essay (20%) and 4500wd research essay (80%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit of study introduces the history of legal theory through a critical analysis of the central debates in jurisprudence over the last two centuries. Students will read canonical Anglo-American legal thinkers (like Jeremy Bentham, H. L. A. Hart and John Finnis) and their contemporary interlocutors (like Ram Mohan Roy, Karl Marx and Marcia Langton). The unit situates each debate in its historical context exploring themes ranging from socialism versus capitalism, revolution versus reaction, and 'race' and 'sex'. For example, students will study how the Hart-Devlin debate (1957-65) connected the policing of homosexuality in 'Swinging London' to the policing of black bodies in colonial Africa. Students will develop skills as critical legal thinkers and intellectual historians that will assist them as lawyers engaged in contemporary Australian and international debates on the nature and future of law. This unit satisfies the Part 2 (Jurisprudence) requirement of the JD.

Part 2 - Master's Level Jurisprudence Electives

JURS6018 Constitutional Theory

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Wojciech Sadurski Session: Intensive September Classes: Aug 21, 22 & Sep 4, 5 (9-5) Assessment: Options: (i) class participation (20%), oral presentation (20%) and 4500wd essay (60%) or (ii) 2 x oral presentations (20% each) and 3000wd essay (40%) Mode of delivery: Block mode
Note: Academic Profile https://sydney.edu.au/law/about/people/list.php. The unit is also available on a Continuing Professional Development basis https://sydney.edu.au/law/study-law/continuing-professional-development.html
This unit will address the role that constitutionalism is expected to play in a democratic state, and will explore various constitutional theories. The main focus will be on theoretical attempts at reconciling commitments to constitutionalism with emphasis on democratic participation: Is it paradoxical that a state governed by majority rules withdraws certain areas from collective decision-making? Various theories of constitutionalism, of constitutional interpretation, and of constitutional judicial review will be explored. The unit will also discuss the question of constitutional charters of rights, different models of judicial review, separation of powers, direct democracy and the functions of constitutions in transitions to democratic systems. The unit will follow a seminar format with the emphasis on class discussion of unit materials. First two days will be focused on the instructor's lectures while two remaining days on students' presentations.
JURS6019 Freedom of Speech

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Wojciech Sadurski Session: Intensive September Classes: Aug 14, 15 & Sep 11, 12 (9-5) Assessment: class participation (20%), class presentation (20%) and 5000wd essay (60%) Mode of delivery: Block mode
Note: Academic Profile https://sydney.edu.au/law/about/people/list.php. The unit is also available on a Continuing Professional Development basis https://sydney.edu.au/law/study-law/continuing-professional-development.html
Freedom of speech is among the most hotly discussed constitutional rights in a liberal democratic state. This unit of study will aimed at clarifying some of the fundamental conceptual and normative foundations of that freedoms, always against the background of specific legal rules, cases and controversies in Australia and around the world. It will consider such issues as the fundamental justifications (rationales) for freedom of speech, the idea of 'content neutrality' and 'viewpoint neutrality' of speech restrictions, the distinction between speech and conduct, etc. It will also look, more specifically, at such controversial issues as restrictions on racial vilification, obscenity, political communication, freedom of speech in cyberspace, and defaming speech. The last part of the unit of study will focus on relationship between freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
LAWS6187 Functional Analysis of Law and Soc Control

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Assoc Prof Alex Ziegert Session: Intensive April Classes: Mar 20, 21 & 27, 28 (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/study-law/continuing-professional-development.html
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

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Michael Sevel Session: Intensive June Classes: May 8, 9 & 15, 16 (9-5) Assessment: class presentation (20%) and 7500wd essay (80%) Mode of delivery: Block mode
Note: Academic Profile https://sydney.edu.au/law/about/people/list.php. The unit is also available on a Continuing Professional Development basis https://sydney.edu.au/law/study-law/continuing-professional-development.html
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

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Michael Sevel Session: Intensive June Classes: May 22, 23 & 29, 30 (9-5) Assessment: Option 1: assignment (20%) and 7000wd essay (80%) or Option 2: 8000wd essay (100%) Mode of delivery: Block mode
Note: Academic Profile https://sydney.edu.au/law/about/people/list.php. The unit is also available on a Continuing Professional Development basis https://sydney.edu.au/law/study-law/continuing-professional-development.html
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.
LAWS6836 Precedent, Interpretation and Probability

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Adj Prof Christopher Birch Session: Semester 2 Classes: 1x2-hr lecture/week 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-visitors.html. The unit is also available on a Continuing Professional Development basis https://sydney.edu.au/law/study-law/continuing-professional-development.html
The unit will examine a number of contemporary debates regarding the nature of legal reasoning. The unit will examine the status of the modern doctrine of precedent and the current state of the Hart/Dworkin/Fish debate in regard to the nature of precedential reasoning. The unit will examine contemporary semantic theory and philosophy of language, and the contribution those fields can make to a proper understanding of the interpretation of legal texts. The unit will also examine the relationship between legal reasoning and moral reasoning and the new legal positivism of writers such as Goldsworthy and Shapiro. In a final segment, the unit will examine legal reasoning in regard to matters of fact, and the current debate as to whether legal fact finding can be modelled using Bayes' theorem and probability theory.