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LAWS11-216: Constitutional Law September 2017 [Standard]

General information

Constitutional Law is a compulsory subject in the Bachelor of Laws program offered by the Faculty of Law. This subject surveys the fundamentals of State and federal constitutional law in Australia, including the following topics: the rule of law, judicial review, the separation of powers, principles of constitutional interpretation, legislative powers, executive power, judicial power, constitutional principles relating to finance and trade, federal/state relations and the principles governing inconsistency of laws. The focus of the subject is both doctrinal and socio-legal, it considers primary and secondary materials relating to the topics, and seeks to develop not only the constitutional problem solving skills of students, but a deeper understanding of the significance of constitutional principles in the operation of the Australian legal system, and in other jurisdictions.


Academic unit:Faculty of Law
Subject code:LAWS11-216
Subject title:Constitutional Law
Subject level:Undergraduate
Semester/Year:September 2017
Credit points:10

Delivery & attendance

Delivery mode:


Workload items:
  • Lecture: x12 (Total hours: 24) - Weekly Lecture
  • Tutorial: x11 (Total hours: 11) - Weekly Tutorial
  • Personal Study Hours: x12 (Total hours: 84) - Recommended Study Hours


Prescribed resources:
  • Patrick Keyzer,A. Fisher,C. W. Goff (2016). Principles of Australian Constitutional Law, 5th Edition. 5th, LexisNexis
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: ?

Pre-requisites: ?

Co-requisites: ?

There are no co-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. Demonstrate understanding of a number of constitutional law topics, such as: (a) Constitutional interpretation, judicial reasoning, and the characterisation process; (b) Principles governing the separation of judicial, executive and legislative powers; (c) Principles of constitutional change and reform; (d) The constitutional protection, or otherwise, of individual rights and freedoms; and (e) Comparative constitutionalism and/or Contemporary Issues in Constitutional Law.
  2. Demonstrate competency in legal research and analysis at an intermediate level, with creativity, initiative and judgment.
  3. Demonstrate professionalism, including a commitment to: (a) Learning and working independently and reflectively; (b) Behaving ethically, respectfully and responsibly; and (c) Managing time effectively and meeting deadlines.


Assessment details

TypeTask%Timing*Outcomes assessed
*Class Participation Tutorial participation throughout the semester and comparative constitutional law activity in week 5 10% Weekly 1, 2, 3.
Presentation Oral Presentation on Comparative Constitutional Law accompanied by one page handout 15% Week 4 1, 2, 3.
Essay Skills Assessment 25% Week 9 1, 2, 3.
Paper-based Examination (Open) Final Examination 50% Final Examination Period 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.

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

• Historical context; • Division of powers; Separation of Powers • Parliamentary sovereignty; • The Rule of Law; • Introduction to contemporary constitutional issues. • Principles of Constitutional Change

• Principles of Constitutional Interpretation and Characterisation; • Sources and restrictions on legislative power

Topics that may be covered include: • Section 51(1): Trade and Commerce; Section 92: Trade within the Commonwealth to be free.• Section 51(ii) and section 55: taxation • Section 51(xx): Corporations • Section 96: Sections 81 and 83

Examples of topics that may be covered include: • Section 51(vi): Defence • Section 51 (xxix): External Affairs

‘Comparative Constitutionalism’ or ‘Contemporary Issues in Constitutional Law and Policy’

Relationships between the Commonwealth, State and Territory Legislatures • State Constitutions • Section 109 • Section 122 • Implied intergovernmental immunity

• Who is the 'executive’? • What is the scope of executive power? • Implied Nationhood power • The Republic debate

• Principles of Commonwealth Judicial Power • Principles of State Judicial Power

• Principles of Commonwealth Judicial Power • Principles of State Judicial Power

• Express rights and freedoms • Implied rights and freedoms • The Bill of Rights Debate

• History and Culture • Section 25 / 51 (xxvi) • Constitutional Recognition

Approved on: Jul 14, 2017. Edition: 2.2
Last updated: Aug 4, 2017.