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LAW3405 Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Law

Semester 1, 2014 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Law and Justice

Contents on this page


Examiner: Lisa Sylvester
Moderator: Nicky Jones


Pre-requisite: (LAW1202 or LAW1114 or LAW5502 or LAW5114) and (LAW3423 or LAW1121 or LAW5606 or LAW5121)

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 //


This is a course on international human rights law and Australian human rights and anti-discrimination law. Students will examine international human rights treaties, institutions and procedures and the incorporation of Australia's human rights obligations into domestic law. The course will cover the major elements of Commonwealth and Queensland anti-discrimination legislation: types of discrimination, the protected grounds of discrimination, the areas of public life and activities in which discrimination is prohibited and the exemptions and exceptions which may be relied on under anti-discrimination laws. The course discusses the procedures by which the legislation may be enforced and the remedies which may be available to successful complainants, noting the functions of human rights and anti-discrimination bodies such as the federal Australian Human Rights Commission and the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commission, as well as the Federal Court and the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

This course is designed to equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to recognise when unlawful discrimination has occurred, to understand the relevant laws and to apply the law in order to find a remedy.

Students will be required to reflect on international and domestic human rights issues and case law. Students will also be assessed on their capacity to synthesise the readings and course materials and their ability to apply the law to problem scenarios, construct a persuasive legal argument and write well and clearly.


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

  1. demonstrate an appreciation of social and political factors which have influenced the development of international human rights law and concepts and human rights and anti-discrimination law in Australia
  2. demonstrate a clear grasp of Commonwealth and Queensland legislation designed to address discrimination and its application to specific situations of discrimination
  3. describe the operation of the legislation in practice
  4. apply relevant legal principles to given fact situations in order to determine the likely outcome to issues raised
  5. explain the legal principles relevant to the topics considered in this course
  6. locate and analyse primary law materials and secondary materials (as relevant) while critically reviewing issues in law relevant to the topics considered in this course
  7. demonstrate satisfactory legal research and written communication skills.


Description Weighting(%)
1. International human rights law: international organisations, treaties, complaint-handling procedures and protections; emerging human rights 10.00
2. The relationship between international and domestic law; human rights in Australian law 10.00
3. Concepts of unlawful discrimination 10.00
4. Protected attributes under anti-discrimination law 30.00
5. Areas of unlawful discrimination 20.00
6. Exemptions and defences 10.00
7. Sexual harassment and anti-vilification 5.00
8. Complaint-handling procedures and remedies 5.00

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. (

  • Rees, N, Lindsay, K & Rice, S 2014, Australian anti-discrimination law: text, cases and materials, 2nd edn, Federation Press, Leichhardt, New South Wales.
  • Legislation: ?Age Discrimination Act 2004? (Cth); ?Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986? (Cth); ?Disability Discrimination Act 1992? (Cth); ?Racial Discrimination Act 1975? (Cth); ?Sex Discrimination Act 1984? (Cth); ?Anti-Discrimination Act 1991? (Qld). You may wish to consider the following text which includes some extracts of the treaties, statutes and cases covered in the course as at 2011 - Flynn, Garkawe, Holt 2011, Human rights treaties, statutes and cases, LexisNexis, New South Wales ISBN 9780409327830.
  • Treaties (can be located online at or ?Universal Declaration of Human Rights?, 10 December 1948, UNGA Res 217A (III); ?International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination?, opened for signature 7 March 1966, 660 UNTS 195 (entered into force 4 January 1969); ?International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights?, opened for signature 19 December 1966, 999 UNTS 171 (entered into force 23 March 1976); ?Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights?, opened for signature 19 December 1966, 999 UNTS 302 (entered into force 23 March 1976); ?International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights?, opened for signature 19 December 1966, 993 UNTS 3 (entered into force 3 January 1976); ?Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women?, opened for signature 18 December 1979, 1249 UNTS 13 (entered into force 3 September 1981).

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.
  • Bailey, P 2009, The human rights enterprise in Australia and internationally, LexisNexis Butterworths, Chatswood, New South Wales.
  • O'Neill, N, Rice, S & Douglas, R 2004, Retreat from injustice: human rights law in Australia, 2nd edn, Federation Press, Leichhardt, New South Wales.
  • Ronalds, C & Raper, E 2012, Discrimination law and practice, 4th edn, Federation Press, Leichhardt, New South Wales.
    (students are not required to purchase this textbook but may find it helpful for this course.)
  • Williams, G 2007, A charter of rights for Australia, 3rd edn, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, New South Wales.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 40.00
Directed Study 89.00
Private Study 36.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
QUIZ 0 0 24 Mar 2014
ESSAY 40 40 10 Apr 2014
2 HOUR EXAMINATION 60 60 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. The examination is scheduled to be held in the end-of-semester examination period. Students will be advised of the official examination date after the timetable has been finalised.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    If you are an international student in Australia, you are advised to attend all classes at your campus. For all other students, there are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility 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:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  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:
    This will be an open examination. Candidates may have access to any printed or written material and a calculator during the examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  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 must use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) style. For AGLC style guide enquiries, consult the AGLC manual from the USQ Library's referencing guide at //, or contact the Law librarian.