No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2016

LAW308 Constitutional Law (8)


This subject addresses state, territory and Commonwealth constitutional law in Australia. It provides students with an understanding of the relationships between the differing levels of government in Australia, and addresses a range of constitutional law issues, including sovereignty, separation of powers, rule of law, and human rights. In addition, the role of the High Court in shaping Commonwealth legislative powers over States is addressed, as well as the limitations of legislative and executive power of the Commonwealth over states and territories. It provides an historical and cultural context for the application of constitutional law in the rapidly changing contemporary state, territory and Commonwealth governments.

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details prior to contacting their course coordinator: LAW308
Where differences exist between the handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
One sessionHD/FLCentre for Law and Justice

Enrolment restrictions

Bachelor of Laws students only
Incompatible subject(s)
JST110 LAW107

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the points of difference between the various state, territory and Commonwealth constitutions and constitutional systems
  • be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the processes and challenges involved in federation
  • be able to demonstrate an informed understanding of the origins and formation of the Commonwealth constitution
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of specific 'heads of power' such as trade, commerce, taxation, corporations and external affairs powers
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between different institutions of government and separation of powers
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the constitution and operation of the legislature, executive and judiciary
  • be able to demonstrate a broad understanding of constitutional law, including the role of the High Court in formulating constitutional law reform
  • be able to plan and apply legal research skills in the interpretation of constitutional law in order to resolve hypothetical legal problems
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the procedures and processes of the High Court's ability under the Commonwealth Constitution to declare valid or invalid state, territory and Commonwealth government legislation, and its potential impact on Australian society


The subject will cover the following topics:
  • State and territory constitutions and constitutional systems
  • Federalism
  • Commonwealth constitution and constitutional systems
  • Constitutional interpretation
  • Heads of power
  • The constitution and the operation of the legislature, executive and judiciary
  • Legislative power and parliament
  • Separation of powers
  • Proportionality
  • Sovereignty
  • Rule of law
  • The High Court and constitutional law
  • International powers
  • Human rights and freedoms
  • Constitutional amendments, and processes for amendment
  • Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution

Residential School

This subject contains a optional 2 day residential school. The 2-day residential school for this subject is optional. It will cover the seminar topics relevant to the subject with particular emphasis on relevant case law, precedents and legislation.


The information contained in the 2016 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 06 September 2016. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.