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LAWS11-216: Constitutional Law May 2019 [Standard]

General information

Constitutional Law is a compulsory subject in the Bachelor of Laws program offered by the Faculty of Law. This subject examines the fundamentals of Australian constitutional law, often in a comparative context. Topics considered include the rule of law, the separation of powers, principles of constitutional interpretation, the rules governing exercises of legislative, executive and judicial power, constitutional change, constitutional principles relating to individual rights and freedoms, the relationship between federal, state and territory governments, including inconsistency of laws, and fiscal federalism. Emphasis is placed on the development of legal research and reasoning skills.


Academic unit:Faculty of Law
Subject code:LAWS11-216
Subject title:Constitutional Law
Subject level:Undergraduate
Semester/Year:May 2019
Credit points:10

Delivery & attendance

Delivery mode:


Workload items:
  • Lecture: x12 (Total hours: 24) - Weekly Lecture
  • Tutorial: x12 (Total hours: 12) - Weekly Tutorial
  • Personal Study Hours: x12 (Total hours: 84) - Recommended Study Hours


Prescribed resources:
  • Suri Ratnapala and Jonathan Crowe (2012). Australian Constitutional Law: Foundations and Theory. 3rd, 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: ?


Assumed knowledge:

Assumed knowledge is the minimum level of knowledge of a subject area that students are assumed to have acquired through previous study. It is the responsibility of students to ensure they meet the assumed knowledge expectations of the subject. Students who do not possess this prior knowledge are strongly recommended against enrolling and do so at their own risk. No concessions will be made for students’ lack of prior knowledge.

Assumed Prior Learning (or equivalent):

Restrictions: ?

Must be admitted into a Bachelor law degree OR Bachelor of Laws combined degree OR be an approved Law Study Abroad OR Law Exchange student.

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 advanced and integrated understanding of a number of constitutional law topics, including: (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 exercising the following skill at an intermediate level, with creativity, initiative and autonomy: (a) legal research and reasoning
  3. Adhere to the highest standards of professionalism, including a commitment to: (a) Learning and working autonomously, accountably and reflectively; (b) Behaving ethically and responsibly; and (c) Managing time effectively and meeting deadlines.


Assessment details

TypeTask%Timing*Outcomes assessed
*Class Participation Tutorial Participation 10% Weekly 1, 2, 3.
Written Research Exercise Draft Judgement of the High Court of Australia 40% 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

Introduces the Australian Constitution and places it in a wider historical and theoretical context. Examines the notion of constitutional government and its relationship to doctrines such as the rule of law, the separation of powers, federalism, representative government and fundamental rights and freedoms. Considers the status of Indigenous peoples under the Constitution and the mechanisms of constitutional change.

Examines the constitutional rules and principles relating to representative government and the electoral process.

Considers in detail the High Court's approach to interpreting Commonwealth legislation and heads of power, placing it within the broader context of federalism and the separation of powers.

Considers the Commonwealth Parliament's economic powers, focusing particularly on the powers relating to corporations and taxation.

Examines the Commonwealth Parliament's international powers, focusing particularly on the external affairs and defence powers.

Considers the High Court's jurisprudence on Commonwealth-state relations, examining the resolution of conflicts of laws and the limits on legislative and executive interference between the levels of government.

Discusses the powers of the Commonwealth executive branch, focusing particularly on the spending and appropriation powers, as well as the so-called 'nationhood power'.

Examines the High Court's approach to defining judicial power, before considering the principles the High Court has employed to protect judicial independence at the Commonwealth level.

Examines the definition and role of judicial power at the state level, including the doctrine of institutional integrity of state courts.

Discusses the express rights and freedoms declared in the Constitution and the manner in which they have been interpreted and applied by the High Court. Among these are the freedom of interstate trade, the right to just compensation for property acquired by the Commonwealth and the freedom of religion.

In addition to the rights and freedoms expressly guaranteed, the Constitution secures several rights and freedoms by implication from the provisions and structure of the Constitution. Among these are the freedom of political speech and the right to vote.

Approved on: Mar 14, 2019. Edition: 3.6