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Local Government Law - LAWS3273
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Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Undergraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 3
Enrolment Requirements:
Prerequisite: LAWS1001 and LAWS1011 and Corequisite: LAWS2311; Prerequisite: JURD7101 and JURD7111 and Corequisite: JURD7211
Excluded: JURD7373
CSS Contribution Charge:Band 3 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


This course focuses on an understanding of Local Government in New South Wales, in particular its role as a regulatory authority and consent authority. The subject will expose students to a wide range of practical issues and principal legal matters which arise both in specialised Local Government practice and day to day general legal practice. The course will demonstrate that a Council in New South Wales now a body politic is a significant corporate organisation responsible for a wide and diverse range of services to the community and discharging many functions under a wide range of legislative provisions.

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Course Objectives

This course aims to teach you to:
  • think critically about issues that govern Public Law generally;
  • understand the relationship between the Council and its elected representatives, its staff and the community;
  • analyse the ethical and conduct codes governing behaviour in Local Government;
  • evaluate the role of the Law in dealing with political issues at the local level;
  • appreciate the dynamic and evolving nature of this area of the Law, in particular the most recent Planning Reforms to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.

Main Topics

  • The concept of a Council as a corporate entity, its charter and power.
  • What Council's functions are, including service and regulatory and incidental functions.
  • Powers of the Mayor, Councillors, General Manager and a basic outline of meetings practice and Council's power to contract.
  • Fiduciary obligations, conflict of interest and code of conduct and the overlapping role of the ICAC and the Ombudsman.
  • The Planning Hierarchy under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.
  • Planning and Development under the EP&A Act including existing use rights.
  • The role of the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales in planning disputation and judicial review of planning decisions.


Class participation (20% structured, 10% unstructured)

Research essay (50%)

Problem solving paper (20%)

Course Texts

Mixture of distributed materials and case notes and Guest Lecturers from serving Judges of the Land and Environment Court.


Refer to Course Outline provided by Lecturer.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.