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.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 2 (60)
Online *
Bathurst Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: LAW308. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


Centre for Law and Justice

Enrolment Restrictions

Bachelor of Laws and the Bachelor of Laws/Criminal Justice students only.


LAW112 and LAW116

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;
  • be able to critically reflect on the diversity amongst Indigenous Australians with reference to constitutional law reform; and
  • be able to demonstrate an informed understanding of the origins and formations of the Commonwealth constitution including the exclusion of specific groups such as Indigenous Australians and women.


This 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

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of LAW308 in Session 2 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Research essay
Problem based scenario
Final exam

Residential School

This subject contains a 2 day Optional 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 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.