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Principles of Colonial Constitutional Law - JURD7358
 Basser Steps

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  School of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 4
EFTSL: 0.08333 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 2
Enrolment Requirements:
Currently enrolled in a program in the Faculty of Law.
Excluded: LAWS3158
Fee Band:   (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


This course focuses on the constitutional law principles which have influenced and continue to influence aspects of contemporary Australian constitutional law and structure. The object of the course is to demonstrate that the substance of many current principles may be traced to developments in the colonial era. The first three weeks of the course centre on discussion and analysis of prepared materials. The remaining four weeks are allocated to student led seminars on topics selected for research essays.

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Course Objectives

The course seeks to demonstrate:
  • How key ideas in Australian contemporary constitutional law evolved from developments in the Australian colonial era and, more generally, from relevant aspects of British colonial history and law
  • The importance of understanding the historical context in which constitutional problems within the Empire arose
  • The value contemporary scholarship can bring to colonial constitutional issues that were left unresolved or have not been adequately analysed

Main Topics

  • Peace, order and good government
  • Plenary within limits
  • Repugnancy, paramountcy and the Colonial Laws Validity Act: was Justice Boothby right?
  • Executive power and non-citizens in colonial Australia


Class presentation
Research essay

Course Texts

A book of prepared materials covering the discussion topics.

Refer to Course Outline provided by lecturer.


Refer to Course Outline provided by lecturer.

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