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LAWS13-102: Foundations of United States Law January 2018 [Standard]

General information

Foundations of United States Law is an elective subject in undergraduate programs offered by the Faculty of Law. The subject will introduce students to the essential elements of a US legal education, in terms of both content and course delivery. Students will learn about the foundations of US law (such as the history and structure of the US legal system, and the processes of US legal research and analysis) and the key concepts and principles underpinning principal areas of US law (such as US contract law, tort law, criminal law, constitutional law, and property law). The subject will be taught in the same way that law is typically taught in the US: classes will be run seminar-style with a focus on interactive discussion, and students will be expected to have read the assigned reading materials (primarily cases, statutes and journal articles) before class and to be prepared to discuss them, in depth, in class.

Changes due to Commonwealth Games: The University has marginally altered the timetable for the January semester of 2018 (181) to ensure that students have the opportunity to engage with the Commonwealth Games to be held in April 2018. The modified timetable has been designed to not impact on overall subject or program learning outcomes. Some subjects may be delivered in a slightly modified mode to accommodate the change. Specific arrangements will be included on the iLearn site for each subject. All changes to the class schedule have the full approval of University and Academic Unit administration and will not adversely affect student learning or assessment.


Academic unit:Faculty of Law
Subject code:LAWS13-102
Subject title:Foundations of United States Law
Subject level:Undergraduate
Semester/Year:January 2018
Credit points:10

Delivery & attendance

Delivery mode:


Workload items:
  • Seminar: x12 (Total hours: 18) - Seminar 1
  • Seminar: x12 (Total hours: 18) - Seminar 2
  • Personal Study Hours: x12 (Total hours: 84) - Recommended Study Hours


Prescribed resources:
  • George P Fletcher and Steve Sheppard (2005). American Law in a Global Context. Oxford University Press
  • Toni M Fine (2015). American Legal Systems: A Resource and Reference Guide. 2d, LexisNexis
  • E Allan Farnsworth (2010). An Introduction to the Legal System of the United States. 4th, Oxford University Press
After enrolment, students can check the Books and Tools area in iLearn for the full Resource List.
[email protected] & Email:[email protected] is the online learning environment at Bond University and is used to provide access to subject materials, lecture recordings and detailed subject information regarding the subject curriculum, assessment and timing. Both iLearn and the Student Email facility are used to provide important subject notifications. Additionally, official correspondence from the University will be forwarded to students’ Bond email account and must be monitored by the student.

To access these services, log on to the Student Portal from the Bond University website as

Enrolment requirements

Requisites: ?


Restrictions: ?

This subject is not available as a general elective. To be eligible for enrolment, the subject must be specified in the students’ program structure.

Assurance of learning

Assurance of Learning means that universities take responsibility for creating, monitoring and updating curriculum, teaching and assessment so that students graduate with the knowledge, skills and attributes they need for employability and/or further study.

At Bond University, we carefully develop subject and program outcomes to ensure that student learning in each subject contributes to the whole student experience. Students are encouraged to carefully read and consider subject and program outcomes as combined elements.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

Program Learning Outcomes provide a broad and measurable set of standards that incorporate a range of knowledge and skills that will be achieved on completion of the program. If you are undertaking this subject as part of a degree program, you should refer to the relevant degree program outcomes and graduate attributes as they relate to this subject.

Find your program

Subject Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject the learner will be able to:
  1. Understand the interrelationship of the various sources of law in the United States and the overall framework of the United States legal system.
  2. Understand at a basic level how to read and analyse a US case.
  3. Understand at a basic level how US statutes work, including the basics of American statutory interpretation.
  4. Understand and be able to apply basic skills involved in researching the law and writing about US-centric legal problems.
  5. Analyse and synthesise US law and facts in order to solve problems, both orally and in writing.
  6. Orally communicate ideas in an organised and effective manner.
  7. Understand some basic elements of key areas of US law including contracts, torts, constitutional law, criminal law, property law, corporate law and international law.


Assessment details

TypeTask%Timing*Outcomes assessed
*Class Participation Participation 10% Week 1 5, 6, 7.
Essay Memorandum of Law 20% Week 7 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7.
Essay Essay 20% Week 11 1, 2, 4, 7.
Take-home Examination Complete exam over weekend at end of Week 12. 50% Non-Standard Examination Period 1, 2, 3, 4, 7.
  • * Assessment timing is indicative of the week that the assessment is due or begins (where conducted over multiple weeks), and is based on the standard University academic calendar
  • C = Students must reach a level of competency to successfully complete this assessment.

Assessment criteria

High Distinction 85-100 Outstanding or exemplary performance in the following areas: interpretative ability; intellectual initiative in response to questions; mastery of the skills required by the subject, general levels of knowledge and analytic ability or clear thinking.
Distinction 75-84 Usually awarded to students whose performance goes well beyond the minimum requirements set for tasks required in assessment, and who perform well in most of the above areas.
Credit 65-74 Usually awarded to students whose performance is considered to go beyond the minimum requirements for work set for assessment. Assessable work is typically characterised by a strong performance in some of the capacities listed above.
Pass 50-64 Usually awarded to students whose performance meets the requirements set for work provided for assessment.
Fail 0-49 Usually awarded to students whose performance is not considered to meet the minimum requirements set for particular tasks. The fail grade may be a result of insufficient preparation, of inattention to assignment guidelines or lack of academic ability. A frequent cause of failure is lack of attention to subject or assignment guidelines.

Quality assurance

For the purposes of quality assurance, Bond University conducts an evaluation process to measure and document student assessment as evidence of the extent to which program and subject learning outcomes are achieved. Some examples of student work will be retained for potential research and quality auditing purposes only. Any student work used will be treated confidentially and no student grades will be affected.

Study information

Submission procedures

Students must check the [email protected] subject site for detailed assessment information and submission procedures.

Policy on late submission and extensions

A late penalty will be applied to all overdue assessment tasks unless an extension is granted by the subject coordinator. The standard penalty will be 10% of marks awarded to that assessment per day late with no assessment to be accepted seven days after the due date. Where a student is granted an extension, the penalty of 10% per day late starts from the new due date.

Policy on plagiarism

University’s Academic Integrity Policy defines plagiarism as the act of misrepresenting as one’s own original work: another’s ideas, interpretations, words, or creative works; and/or one’s own previous ideas, interpretations, words, or creative work without acknowledging that it was used previously (i.e., self-plagiarism). The University considers the act of plagiarising to be a breach of the Student Conduct Code and, therefore, subject to the Discipline Regulations which provide for a range of penalties including the reduction of marks or grades, fines and suspension from the University.

Bond University utilises Originality Reporting software to inform academic integrity.

Feedback on assessment

Feedback on assessment will be provided to students within two weeks of the assessment submission due date, as per the Assessment Policy.

Accessibility and Inclusion Support

If you have a disability, illness, injury or health condition that impacts your capacity to complete studies, exams or assessment tasks, it is important you let us know your special requirements, early in the semester. Students will need to make an application for support and submit it with recent, comprehensive documentation at an appointment with a Disability Officer. Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Office at the earliest possible time, to meet staff and learn about the services available to meet your specific needs. Please note that late notification or failure to disclose your disability can be to your disadvantage as the University cannot guarantee support under such circumstances.

Subject curriculum

The US court system; substantive discussion on the US Constitution and historical development of fundamental US legal concepts (eg, judicial review and federalism); legal method - reading and analysing a case; legal reasoning

1, 2, 6, 7.

The extension of constitutional limitations on governmental power to the states through the post-Civil War amendments to the Constitution; Legal Method - statutory interpretation

1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7.

Legal Research and Writing in a US context (may include one hour of Westlaw: International training so that you have the skills necessary to complete your legal research assignment)


Introduction to US Torts Law, focusing on negligence

2, 3, 5, 6, 7.


1, 2, 5, 6, 7.

Part of this class session will examine how to find US corporate contracts online; we will also do some in-class exercises analysing interesting fact patterns having to do with contract interpretation and comparing them to relevant cases.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Covers the Bill of Rights and creation of a right to privacy through abortion rights, gay marriage, etc; also the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.

1, 2, 5, 6.


1, 2, 5, 6.


1, 2, 3, 5, 7.
Approved on: Nov 7, 2017. Edition: 1.1