Skip to main content
USQ Logo
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

LAW3470 Principles of Public Law

Semester 2, 2019 Online
Short Description: Principles of Public Law
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Law and Justice
Student contribution band : Band 3
ASCED code : 090903 - Constitutional Law
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Timothy Nugent


Pre-requisite/Co-requisite: LAW1201 or (LAW1111 and LAW1112) or LAW5501 or (LAW5111 and LAW5112)

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


It is important that students gain a deeper appreciation of the some of the fundamentals underpinning public law in Australia.


In this course, students will explore some of the fundamentals of Australia's legal system and Constitution, including the rule of law, separation of powers, democracy, and the extent to which our law protects human rights of citizens.


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

  1. understanding of the scope and importance of the rule of law
  2. understanding of the scope and importance of the principle of separation of powers
  3. understanding of some democratic aspects of the Australian Constitution, including issues with respect to representative democracy, voting and freedom of political communication
  4. critical understanding of the role of the judiciary and the legislature in protecting fundamental human rights, including the question of express rights protections and the legitimacy of implications regarding rights.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to the Australian Constitution 10.00
2. The rule of law 20.00
3. Separation of powers 25.00
4. Australia as a democracy 25.00
5. Human rights. 20.00

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. (

Williams, G, Brennan, S & Lynch, A 2018, Blackshield and Williams Australian constitutional law and theory: commentary and materials, 7th edn, Federation Press, Annandale, New South Wales.

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.
Zines, L 2008, The High Court and the Constitution, 5th edn, Federation Press, Annandale, New South Wales.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 50.00
Directed Study 55.00
Private Study 50.00
Tutorials 10.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 40 40 26 Aug 2019
ASSIGNMENT 2 60 60 21 Oct 2019

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Online: 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.

    On-campus: 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:
    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:
    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. Students studying this course as part of a Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor must use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) style. Students who are not enrolled in either of these programs may use either Harvard (AGPS) or the 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