Contemporary Issues in Law and Society is an undergraduate elective subject offered by the Faculty of Law. This subject is not a technical law subject, instead it explores some of the social and contemporary challenges facing today’s lawmakers. Students are asked to critically consider and evaluate the different moral, legal and ethical perspectives of the issues presented through cross-disciplinary debate to solve contemporary problems. Topics include: the role of law as a social system; the impact of science in an era of human cloning and designer babies; freedom of expression and media regulation; public shaming and private morality on the internet; artificial intelligence, robots and driverless cars; different global approaches to sanctions and punishment; the effect of globalisation on cultural identity; and gender issues. How do morality, law, politics, science and economics intersect and interact when we try to solve problems or secure progress in society? The plan of topics may be varied if new controversial issues emerge during the course of the semester.
|Academic unit:||Faculty of Law|
|Subject title:||Contemporary Issues in Law and Society|
Delivery & attendance
|Attendance and learning activities:||You should attend all classes. Many lectures build on material covered in previous sessions and it may be difficult for you to recover if you miss a class. Attendance in tutorials will be monitored and assessed. When other students are presenting, you must attend and contribute to the subsequent discussion and this material will be examinable. Unexcused failure to attend tutorials will result in a penalty of one mark per tutorial missed.|
|Prescribed resources:||No Prescribed resources. 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 www.bond.edu.au
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.
Subject Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
On successful completion of this subject the learner will be able to:
- Define their own set of ethical and moral principles through research, analytical thinking and reasoning which they can then carry forward to apply to any future life situation.
- Obtain a body of knowledge about and critical insight into many of the most topical issues of our time. This will enable them to contribute reasoned perspectives to the major debates on these issues positively and with confidence.
- Present material coherently and fluently and to debate the merits of problems with their peers.
- Present reasoned and researched arguments in logical, structured written form.
|Online Quiz||Online Quizzes||40%||Ongoing||1, 2, 3, 4.|
|Class Participation||Class Participation||20%||Ongoing||1, 2, 3.|
|Assignment||Written Assignment||25%||Week 12||1, 2, 3, 4.|
|Oral Presentation||Oral Presentation||15%||To Be Negotiated||1, 2, 3.|
- * 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.
|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.|
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.
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.
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.
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.
Additional subject information
Students may be asked to respond to questions from the subject coordinator regarding the content of their assessments. Students are expected to keep evidence of drafting and research.
We start with the seemingly simple question of what motivates people to behave morally or immorally. Does our conduct change because of our surrounding environment, family background, emotions or reasoning? This has practical implications: how best do we encourage good behaviour in society? Is it by appealing to people’s morality? Their self-interest? Or by attaching a financial or other penalty to immoral behaviour? Who decides what is moral or immoral conduct?1, 2, 3, 4.
Here we introduce the tension between the needs of society and the rights of the individual. How do we balance the right of the individual to be left alone and choose their own path with the needs of society to encourage productivity, morality and public order and the rights of others in society to practise their own choices?1, 2, 3, 4.
To what extent should the law represent public morality? What is the role of law: to punish offenders, to safeguard a social system of values, to represent the people’s opinion, to protect the people or something else? How should it be determined when legislation should be applied, what is to be legislated and to what extent?1, 2, 3, 4.
Is it right to prohibit certain forms of speech or expression? Key examples to be debated include hate speech, obscenity, attempts to restrain the public manifestation of religious symbols and beliefs, attempts to restrain public protest and the media. Case studies may include: 'Je suis Charlie', banning the burqa, 2019 Hong Kong protests, political advertising on social media, Julian Assange, AFP raids on ABC journalists, and others.
This topic examines the moral, legal and ethical issues of the right to freedom of expression of private morality when negatively expressed in a targeted manner against identified individuals or groups on the internet as a public forum. Case studies for analysis may include Monica Lewinsky, Charlotte Dawson, Greg Masters, Tim Hunt, Justine Sacco, Claire Swire, and others.
Here we examine the impact of media reporting on the judicial system by looking at: media literacy and the target audience; the concept of journalistic integrity and what limitations and expectations should be placed on journalists; whether the concept of sub judice is still relevant; freedom of information laws; public databases of offenders; and the public’s right to know versus the individual’s right to privacy. Case studies for analysis may include Rolf Harris, Lindy Chamberlain, Amanda Knox, Daemon Hunter, or others.
This topic examines disability, advances in technology, and human genetics. Consideration is given to the moral, ethical and legal implications of issues such as saviour siblings, mitochondrial donation, gene patents, the ability to select characteristics of unborn children, robotic bees, artificial intelligence, and driverless cars among others.
This is an opportunity to examine different global methods of deterrence and punishment. The successes and failures of different systems are analysed and assessed to determine their real versus their perceived efficacy, their historic development and their long-term viability. Topics include: prison systems, rehabilitation, sharia law, social exclusion, indigenous law, religious punishment, monetary penalties, and others.
Here the course considers cultural identity in a society of increasing homogeneity. What is its place historically, how is it changing, should it be protected or is it evolving, and who should be responsible for its definition and maintenance if it is to endure?
This topic discusses gender development from the evolving traditional roles of men and women in the workplace, at home and socially to a look at the multiple gender definitions available today, how they came into being, their short and long-term effect and the legal complexities they can create.
As we approach the end of the semester, we will review the topics covered, reflect on presentations and papers, and prepare for the examination.