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LAW1202 Law in Context

Semester 2, 2013 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business and Law
School or Department : School of Law
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Pauline Collins
Moderator: Michael Maguire


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: BLAW or BALW or BBLA or BCLA or BSSC or BABL

Other requisites

Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at

Internet-based live classroom sessions: In addition, external students will in this course have the opportunity to use an Internet-based live classroom allowing you to participate in group work and for assessment of the debate. These sessions will require a computer headset with microphone and a web cam with a broadband connection but you can also participate via text (if you do not have a microphone) and a dialup connection. A web cam is also required. It is best to wait until the beginning of semester to see what the recommendations are for this equipment. The course Announcements and News forum will contain full instructions for preparing your computer and connecting to the session.


This course is required to give students grounding in legal theory and jurisprudence for their later Legal Theory course. It also introduces students to the study of law, placing law in a socio-political context and provides skills relevant to that study, including: critical thinking, oral and written communication, self-management, and research. These are important requirements of the threshold learning outcomes (TLOs) for law graduates. All six TLOs are an integral part of this course.


It is important for those learning the skills of lawyers to understand that the law is part of the social fabric and reflects the views and values of the society in which it operates. This course is designed to introduce students to the law and skills required for lawyers. Students will learn to discuss and debate key legal concepts that relate to legal jurisprudence and principles underpinning the legal system such as the rule of law. Consideration of specific legal issues such as indigenous, multicultural, criminal activity, ethics, discrimination and gender and family issues will be covered. The course will engage students in the study of law.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate teamwork skills and management, planning and organisation skills including leadership, the capacity for self-awareness and self-confidence
  2. demonstrate academic, professional, cultural literacy and ethical research and enquiry skills by describing, explaining, interpreting, illustrating, assessing and critiquing the following topics: values, what is the law; sociological and anthropological approaches to law, legal systems; legal theories at a first year level; concepts of the rule of law; separation of powers ideas of ethics and professions (especially as they relate to lawyers); the legal context for minority and disadvantaged groups (indigenous peoples, women), the legal context of anti-terror laws
  3. provide appropriate illustrations of the principles of law dealt with in this course and demonstrate the ability to apply those principles to factual scenarios
  4. demonstrate intermediate level written and oral communication skills by critically analysing, defining and communicating arguments in a logical well-reasoned manner.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Module 1: Values, team work, debating skills, critical thinking. 15.00
2. Module 2: What is law? Sociological and anthropological approaches to law, legal systems. 15.00
3. Module 3: Introduction to legal theory (moral, legal and political philosophy) the rule of law, ideological approaches and critical theories. 30.00
4. Module 4: Lawyers in context. Lawyers and the rule of law and separation of powers; moral perspectives on lawyers' practice; significance of character; official assessments of character and critiques. 15.00
5. Module 5: The legal context for minority and disadvantaged groups: race (especially indigenous issues), and gender. 15.00
6. Module 6: The legal context in the Age of Terror. Anti-terror laws; theoretical, political and professional responses to anti-terror laws. 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • There is no recommended text for this course. Students will be referred to selected readings on the CD. Course materials are available online through the StudyDesk.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Bottomley, S & Bronitt, S 2012, Law in context, 4th edn, Federation Press, Annandale, New South Wales.
  • Leiboff, M & Thomas, M 2009, Legal theories: contexts and practices, Lawbook Co, Sydney, New South Wales.
  • Mansell, W, Meteyard, B & Thomson, A 2004, A critical introduction to law, 3rd edn, Cavendish Publishing, London.
  • The following electronic databases are available through the USQ Library Databases: CCH IntelliConnect; Informit Online - AGIS Attorney-General's Information Service Plus Text, APA-FT Australian Public Affairs - Full Text; HeinOnline, Index to Legal Periodicals & Books, Westlaw AU; LexisNexis AU; Qld Legal Indices Online.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 22.00
Directed Study 52.00
Lectures and Tutorials 39.00
Private Study 52.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ONLINE TEST 1 10 10 12 Aug 2013 (see note 1)
ONLINE TEST 2 10 10 13 Sep 2013
ONLINE TEST 3 20 20 25 Oct 2013
DEBATE 30 30 28 Oct 2013 (see note 2)
WRITTEN ARGUMENT 20 20 28 Oct 2013 (see note 3)

  1. Students will have access to the online tests from the course home page via Moodle, for one week up to and including the due date.
  2. This assessment will include marks for content, presentation and team work. This will contribute 30% to the student's final mark for the course. This will be completed before the end of semester 2. Students will be allocated to teams and a topic at the beginning of the semester. This will be confirmed via the course home page.
  3. Individual student learning outcomes. Each student will write a 1400 word written argument after their debate, arguing the case for the opposing side. The assessment will include marks for content and professional quality of delivery. The mark on this written argument will contribute to 20% of the student's final grade. This will be due within one week of presentation of your debate.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without prior approval of the examiner, then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Not applicable.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Referencing in assignments:
    Students studying this course as part of a Bachelor of Laws must use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) style. Students who are not enrolled in a Bachelor of Laws program may use either Harvard (AGPS) or the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. For AGLC style guide enquiries, consult the AGLC manual from the USQ Library's referencing guide at, or contact the Law librarian. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide at

Other requirements

  1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access:
    Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at