Alternative faculty handbook semester 1, 2008 Editor: Simon Vu Sub-Editors



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NOTES:

  1. Due to the nature of the following Units, they will be reviewed in the Alternative Faculty Handbook Semester 2, 2008 Edition:

    1. Commercial Practice, Conveyancing and Drafting

    2. Procedure

    3. Negotiation and Mediation

    4. Personal Property



  1. The units examined in this document consist only of units run during 2008.
    Students should consult the University Handbooks and Law Faculty’s Units webpage to check whether any given unit will be run in 2009.



  1. Furthermore, students should also check whether they have completed the necessary prerequisites before enrolling in any unit.

Dear UWA Law Faculty and Students,


Welcome to this year’s guide to the units offered by the Law School at the University of Western Australia – the Blackstone Society’s Alternative Faculty Handbook (AFH), sponsored by Lavan Legal.
The AFH offers a unique student perspective on each unit offered by UWA’s Faculty of Law. The handbook is a compilation of anonymous student surveys, collected in lectures, small groups and seminars of both compulsory and elective units. The surveys were distributed by the AFH team at the completion of each unit.
This semester has been an exciting time for those contributing to the AFH. Aside from the organised chaos of handing out surveys, for the first time the AFH team has implemented an online survey to supplement the hard-copy surveys. This has presented an opportunity for law students to provide feedback on their units in circumstances where they were unable to do so via hard copy. Each survey completed has been analysed and compiled, with the results presented herein.
This publication is designed to give law students some hard hitting insights into the units that may await them and for others the chance to reminisce on more innocent times.
With regard to each unit, this handbook addresses topics including the quality of lecturing, study strategies and workload as well as providing students’ commentary on various aspects of the unit.
This edition of the AFH boasts three new exciting additions:


  1. So you have to choose law electives…?

This section aims to help students select elective units and suggests strategies for doing so.

  1. Hilarious Comments

  1. Some of the funniest tumbleweed tumbling comments that students wrote in their surveys. We hope you find it enjoyable.

  1. Star Ratings

Previous editions of the AFH have used numerical ratings. This year, the AFH editorial team have implemented a 5 star rating system. For almost all criteria (except difficulty and workload), the more stars the better! For ‘difficulty’ and ‘workload’ ratings, the more stars the greater the difficulty or workload of the unit.
The opinions expressed in this handbook reflect the opinions of students in their surveys, and are not necessarily representative of the opinions of the AFH Team, the Blackstone Society or the University of Western Australia.
If you have any questions or comments about this handbook, please do not hesitate to contact me at simon.k.vu@gmail.com
I hope that this handbook can be of some use to you. On behalf of the AFH team, I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Yours sincerely,


Simon Vu

2008 AFH Editor

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE NUMBER

FIRST YEAR (SEMESTER 1) COMPULSORY UNITS

LEGAL PROCESS……………………………………………………………………………7

CRIMINAL LAW I.…………………………………………………………………………..9

SECOND YEAR (SEMESTER 1) COMPULSORY UNITS

CONTRACT I………………………………………………………………………………..11

TORTS I……………………………………………………………………………………...13

THIRD YEAR (SEMESTER 1) COMPULSORY UNITS

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I………………………………………………………………...15

PROPERTY I………………………………………………………………………………...17

EQUITY………………………………………………………..…………………………….19

FOURTH YEAR (SEMESTER 1) COMPULSORY UNITS

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW I.………………………………………………………………..21

CORPORATIONS LAW…...………………………………………………………………..23

SO YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE LAW ELECTIVES…?…………………………………….26



SEMESTER 1 ELECTIVE LAW UNITS
ADVANCED TORTS……………………………………………………………………….28

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION………………………………………………..31

CONSUMER LAW………………………………………………………………………….33

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE: THE TRIAL PROCESS………………………………………35

CRIMINOLOGY 1…………………………………………………………………………..37

EMPLOYMENT LAW………………………………………………………………………39

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW…………………………………………….……………………41

INCOME TAXATION LAW ………………………………………………………………..43

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND THE LAW………………………………………………...45

INTERNATIONAL TRADE LAW………………………………………………………….47

INTRODUCTION TO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY…………………………………….49

HILARIOUS COMMENTS………………………………………………………………….51



LEGAL PROCESS

Unit Coordinator: Daniel Stepniak.

Lecturers/Tutors: Ambelin Kwaymullina, Sarah Murray, Tracey Summerfield.

Overview

Legal Process is an introductory unit that all UWA Law students encounter in their first semester. Through the small group and lecture settings, students are introduced to: the basic principles of the legal system, including the development of Common Law and Equity in England and its reception in Australia; and an introduction to case law and statutory interpretation. Law Students will also learn the all too important skills of legal research, analysis and writing skills. Although some “lawbies” will find this unit intellectually disengaging at times, most students will accept that it is an essential foundation to build your legal education upon.

Ratings: Standard of Teaching (Lecturers and/or Tutors)

Daniel

Tracy

Sarah

Ambelin











Workload

Unit Structure

Difficulty

Enjoyment

Online Resources

Assessment Structure



















Timetabling issues

Legal Process was run through two weekly one hour lectures and a weekly 2 hour seminar. There was a mixed response in relation to the punctuality of classes.

Online and in-class resources

Most students felt the online support for this unit was adequate. There were some complaints that lectures were sometimes not recorded or were not particularly audible due to lecturers moving away from the microphone.

Assessment

Assessment consisted of 4 compulsory quizzes (not weighted); a written case analysis assignment (20%); an open-book, in-class test (40%) and a reflective journal (40%). There was no end of semester examination for this unit – something which students responded to positively.

Textbook and other resources

Students recommended the prescribed text Cook et al; Laying Down the Law (2005). The course materials provided were useful too.

Study Strategies

Students recommended:

  • Keeping up with the readings and making clear and concise notes;

  • Setting up a group to discuss the issues;

  • Staying on top of the required journal entries, do not procrastinate!



Student comments

  • Very interesting and in depth theoretical foundation for a study of law, from a range of different perspectives.’

  • I enjoyed the discussions of ethics, theories, principles…’

  • It was an unrealistic time allocation for the in-class test assessment - unsuitable way to recognise a student's capability in a problem question’

  • Distribute the journal exercises evenly throughout the semester, not all of them handed down so close together.’ [Ed: the due dates were too close together]

  • There were too many journal exercises. Three or four would have been more appropriate to allow for more focused and involved analysis.’

  • Spend more time on preparation for statutory interpretation, case analysis and reflective journal… less history – boring.’

  • ‘I think all the lecturers and tutors are really friendly, knowledgeable and approachable.’

CRIMINAL LAW I

Unit Coordinator – Neil Morgan.

Lecturers/Tutors – Neil Morgan, Christian Porter, Catherine Fletcher, Graham Pidco.

Overview

This unit provides an introduction to the basic principles of the WA criminal justice system. There is a thorough coverage of a number of core offences including homicide, offences against the person, sexual offences and property offences. It also considers the different forms of participation in crime.

Neil Morgan continues to deliver outstanding performances as both a lecturer and coordinator of the unit, ensuring both fun and learning – a match made in heaven.

Ratings: Standard of Teaching (Lecturers and/or Tutors)

Workload

Unit Structure

Difficulty

Enjoyment

Online Resources

Assessment Structure















Neil

Christian

Catherine

Graham













Timetabling issues

This unit was run with two 1-hour lectures and a tutorial every week. The lectures and tutorials were rarely overtime.

Online and in-class resources

The lecture handouts were regarded as good and well structured, with the lecture slides made available on the unit webpage. Some students have requested that the lecture outlines be made available before the lecture via the unit website.

Assessment

Assessment consisted of a 30% assignment and a 70% final exam. Some students surveyed felt that as a first year unit, there should be more ongoing assessments in the unit. This would have the effect of reducing the final exam weighting as well as the chance to consolidate their learning to date.

Textbook and other resources

Students were split on whether they would recommend Colvin and McKechnie’s Criminal Law in Qld and WA (2008) or Kenny’s An Introduction to Criminal Law in Qld and WA (2004). They regarded them as good complements to the lectures but were not absolutely essential for their learning. Some students also recommended getting a copy of the Criminal Code (WA) – although online access to the legislation will suffice.

Study Strategies

Students recommended:

  • Structuring your notes around the lecture notes, they keep you on subject and make the process (of revision) easier;

  • Preparing for the tutorials, don’t mooch of your friends – You will be found out;

  • Keeping up with the readings and the work – it sounds simple in theory but so hard to do so [Ed: You don’t want to pick up bad habits early, they’re too hard to reverse]; and

  • Get in a study group to discuss the issues that trouble you, failing that, at the very least make use of the lecturers/tutors consultation times.

Student Comments

  • ‘(It was) a really enjoyable course with exceptional teaching standards, I have never had better more enthusiastic lecturers who have affected my opinions more for the better... love the real life examples’

  • ‘The Lectures and tutorials were engaging and interesting’

  • ‘Perhaps some guidance earlier on for those with non-legal backgrounds’

  • ‘It would be good if we had a better indication of our performance at least a reasonable time before the end of semester examinations.’

CONTRACT LAW I

Unit Coordinator: Robyn Carroll.

Lecturers/Tutors: Robyn Carroll, John Tarrant, Aviva Freilich, Robert Cunningham.


Overview


This unit covers the fundamental principles of contract law. These are vital because contracts form the basis of contemporary capitalism and this underlies most commercial and industrial relationships. Contract I focuses on the formation of contracts. Students will cover topics including: offer and acceptance, consideration, intention to create legal relations, privity of contract, certainty and completeness, and the terms of a contract. Most students found the unit to be well structured, the lecturers knowledgeable, approachable and excellent at creating a comfortable learning environment.
Ratings: Standard of teaching

Workload

Unit Structure

Difficulty

Enjoyment

Online Resources

Assessment Structure
















Robyn

Aviva

John









Timetabling Issues

Contract Law I was delivered via 2 weekly one hour lectures and a fortnightly tutorial. Most students found the lectures were punctual and only ran overtime occasionally.


Online and in-class resources

The unit was run on WebCT6, with lectures being made available on Lectopia. Lecture slides and notes were made available through WebCT6 generally before the lecture. There were a number of links to websites that had good summaries on topics (generally) and case law. A lot of students were appreciative of these resources being made available to them.


Assessment

The assessment consisted of a 30% assignment and a 70% exam. Students thought another assessment should be added to reduce the weighting of the final exam.




Textbooks and other resources

Students strongly recommended buying the texts of Paterson, J. et al. Principles of Contract Law (2nd Ed), and Paterson, J. et al. Contract Cases and Materials (10th Ed). Alternatively, regular access to the textbook is beneficial.


Study Strategies

Students recommended:



  • Going to lectures and tutorials;

  • Reading cases and the textbooks before the lecture;

  • Making clear summaries at the end of each topic lectured; and

  • Forming a study group to ‘chew the fat’ and discuss any issues


Student Comments

  • ‘This unit was very useful to everyday life, interesting cases and fairly straight-forward logically.’

  • ‘Some tutors didn’t give direct answers for tutorial questions, whilst another tutor gave exact answers to the same question. Some consistency please!’

  • ‘Add a tutorial participation mark since most people don’t bother showing up.’

  • ‘Fortnightly tutes are too irregular and certainly not enough, although they were of a reasonable quality.’

  • ‘Two assignments would have been preferable – perhaps one on formation and one on terms of the contract?’


TORTS I

Unit Coordinator: Doug Hodgson

Lecturers/Tutors: Doug Hodgson, Judy Allen and Brenda McGivern
Overview

Torts I provides an introduction to the law of tort and accident compensation, focusing to a large extent on actions of negligence for personal injury. Topics examined include duty of care; breach of duty and the standard of care, causation; remoteness; defences and assessment of damages.



Students surveyed found Torts I to be interesting and well structured (as long as they didn’t frequently change classes). Students also found the lecturers had boundless enthusiasm and a vast understanding of the subject matter.
Ratings Standard of Teaching of Lecturers and/or Tutors

Workload

Unit Structure

Difficulty

Enjoyment

Online Resources

Assessment Structure









Doug

Judy

Brenda



Timetabling Issues

This unit consisted of three one hour small-group classes each week. Classes seldom ran over time.


Online and In-class Resources

Students felt that the resources available were quite limited.


Assessment

Assessment consisted of one assignment (30%), small group attendance and participation marks (10%) and an end of semester examination (60%).


Textbook and other resources

Students found the prescribed text Mendelson’s New Law of Torts (2006) useful, but not comprehensive. Students found various other books useful including those by Trindade and Luntz & Hambly.



Study Strategies

Students recommended:



  • Staying up to date with readings and preparing for all classes;

  • Answering questions logically and practise problem questions; and

  • Use a variety of textbooks (from the library) because they treat certain topics with subtle differences.


Student Comments:

  • ‘The differences in the way the unit is handled by all the teachers makes it hard to follow any structure within the unit’

  • ‘Should be moderation between tutors when handing out participation marks.’

  • ‘Wasn't too full-on, sometimes quite interesting and thought-provoking’

  • ‘Prof. Doug Hodgson was excellent. He gave very clear instructions and was always approachable and contactable. It was a pleasure being in his class.’

  • ‘Prepare, prepare and prepare. And maybe read Donoghue v Stevenson.’

  • ‘Judy had a very subtle way of guilting me into doing the readings despite there being no punishment.’


CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I

Unit Coordinator - Sarah Murray.

Lecturers/Tutors- Sarah Murray, Simon Young, Jim Thomson, Greg Carne.
Overview

Constitutional Law I introduces students to the Commonwealth Constitution. The unit provides an introduction to the fundamental principles and institutions of government at both the State and Commonwealth Levels. Constitutional Law is largely concerned with the law that governs the powers and actions of the public institutions which make, administer and enforce legislation. Particular issues covered include sources of legislative power, representative and responsible government and separation of powers. Most students found the unit challenging, particularly the amount of material covered and some considered the material dry. A common criticism was that the unit felt disjointed due the number of different lecturers throughout the semester.



Ratings: Standard of teaching

Workload

Unit Structure

Difficulty

Enjoyment

Online Resources

Assessment Structure











Sarah

Greg

Simon

Jim

Tessa

Hugo








Timetabling issues

The classes consisted of two weekly one hour lectures and a fortnightly tutorial. Students commented that lectures would sometimes run over time, though not often. Some students also felt that the tutorials regularly went over time and that there was a disproportionate amount of time spent on answering smaller questions in comparison to the lengthier questions.


Online and in-class resources

Lectures were recorded in this unit. For the lectures that did run over time, the recordings would ‘cut out’ after 45 minutes and this made it difficult for students listening to the recordings online.



The student’s view of the resources, especially course outlines largely depended on who the lecturer was for a given topic. A common criticism was that the unit outlines or lecture slides contained too much information.

Assessment

Assessment consisted of an 80% exam and a 20% mark that was derived from handing in a paper combined with an oral discussion on a tutorial topic and participation across the other tutorials. Students thought that the assignment questions were not of a consistent difficulty and the 1000 word limit was insufficient to write a good answer.
Textbook and other resources

Students did not recommend using the Hank textbook [Australian Constitutional Law 7th Ed (2004)] as the only text to study this subject. Some students did not find Hank’s useful at all while others did to some degree. There are many alternative and supplementary textbooks on available on closed reserve. Students found Blackshield & Williams’ Australian Constitutional Law and Theory (2006) useful for a more detailed analysis on specific issues. Other texts on closed reserve such as Carney, Clark and Castan, respectively, were useful as a starting point for a number of the topics. The lecturers referred to a number of these other texts in their lectures. There was also a good amount of articles on CMO that students found helpful.
Study strategies

Students recommended:



  • Keeping on top of the reading – aim to be in synchronicity with the lecture topics;

  • Preparing for your tutorials... you will be rewarded beyond riches;

  • Forming study groups in this unit, both to ensure you have covered all the materials and to share the extra knowledge gained from doing the assignment.

  • Using Castan and Blackshield and other texts in closed reserve – each text discusses the material in different depths; and

  • Also taking a look at the articles in the unit outline – they will be handy!


Student comments

  • ‘Jim asks too many questions, give us more constructive guidance and tell us stuff’

  • ‘Greg was hard to follow structure-wise and at times was overly verbose and convoluted; his passion and knowledge of Constitutional Law is unquestioned’

  • ‘More consistency with the lecture styles so the unit fits together better’

  • ‘Lecture slides at times contained overly extensive information and sometimes not up-to-date’

  • ‘Assessment Structure, too much information not enough time. Exhaustive lectures due to pace of and amount of information delivered.’

  • ‘Interesting and topical once you get your head around it.’


PROPERTY I

Unit Coordinator: Penny Carruthers

Lecturers/Tutors: Penny Carruthers, Eileen Webb, Sharon Mascher and Simon Young.
Overview

Property Law is fundamental to any student’s understanding of the law. Aside from being critical in practice, this unit also has extensive overlap into other units in law school. Property I provides an introduction to the principles and concepts of property law, particularly dealing with general law land. Topics dealt with include real and personal property; possession; rights to resources; Crown ownership; native title; the doctrines of tenures and estates; legal and equitable interests; present and future interests; formalities; priorities; and concurrent ownership.


Ratings Standard of Teaching of Lecturers and/or Tutors

Workload

Unit Structure

Difficulty

Enjoyment

Online Resources

Assessment Structure
















Penny

Eileen

Sharon

Simon












Timetabling Issues

This unit was run with two weekly one hour lectures and a one hour tutorial every fortnight. Classes occasionally ran overtime.


Online and In-class Resources

Students considered the worksheets and other handouts to be useful and the online resources satisfactory. Lectures were recorded and available on the unit webpage.


Assessment

The assessment consisted of a 25% assignment and a 75%, closed book final exam. Many felt that the method of assessment was unsatisfactory; the final exam was excessively long and did not allow most students to demonstrate that they knew and understood the material. In hindsight many students did acknowledge that the exam being closed book was beneficial, although not a preferable form of assessment.


Textbook and other resources

Students who used Bradbrook’s Australian Real Property Law textbook and the course materials found them to be quite useful. Those who did not use these books did not feel disadvantaged because they felt the unit was relatively straight forward and further reading unnecessary. The Bradbrook text is also recommended for Property II – students should take this into consideration if they opt to buy the textbook for Property I.


Study Strategies

Students recommend



  • Attending tutorials;

  • Reviewing past exams and studying with other students; and

  • Keeping up to date with classes, this is necessary particularly for the closed book exam.


Student Comments:

  • ‘All lecturers were lovely people and Penny in particular was more than happy to help with questions out of lecture and tutorial times’

  • ‘Closed book, 75% exam was a bit painful but encouraged me to learn the course rather than just steal good notes!’

  • ‘Friendly, approachable lecturers and tutors, especially leading up to exams.’

  • ‘The exam was well structured so that it was clear which topics applied to each question. However, it was too long and everyone struggled with time, regardless of how well they knew their stuff.’



EQUITY

Unit Coordinator - Natalie Skead.

Lecturers: Natalie Skead and Peter Creighton.

Additional Tutors: Penny Carruthers and Heidi Thavaseelan


Overview

By the time that a law student reaches the unit Equity, they have heard a great deal about it in various other units without coming to much of an understanding as to what it is and how it works. This unit guides students through a number of the key principles that evolved in the Courts of Chancery as a supplement and alternative to the harshness of the Common Law. These principles provide students with a proper understanding of previously unknown terms and concepts such as estoppel and undue influence which may have caused them grief in their earlier legal studies, providing a much broader understanding of the workings of the law.


The first half of the unit examines the equitable doctrines of illegitimate pressure, undue influence and unconscionable dealing, and also the principle in Yerkey v Jones. The remainder of the unit looks at estoppel, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of confidence, before dealing with a number of equitable remedies such as injunctions and specific performance.
The student consensus was that the level of teaching in this unit was first class, and many found the subject both engaging and interesting. This was sadly the last semester that Peter Creighton is going to be teaching this unit.
Ratings: Standard of teaching

Workload

Unit Structure

Difficulty

Enjoyment

Online Resources

Assessment Structure









Natalie

Peter


Penny

Heidi








Timetabling issues

This unit was taught via two weekly one hour lectures and a fortnightly tutorial. There were no significant issues; however a few of the tutorials did go over time.


Online and in-class resources

Lectures were recorded in this unit, and almost everything that was handed out in lectures was made available online through the unit webpage. Natalie’s topic summaries that were handed out were regarded as a very useful resource. There were problems with some lectures failing to record.


Assessment

The assessment consisted of a one hour in class case analysis (40%), a one hour final exam (50%) and tutorial participation (10%). Many students found the one hour in class assessment daunting but nonetheless found it to be an enjoying and useful learning experience


Textbook and other resources

Students recommended the Dal Pont and Chalmers textbook Equity and Trusts in Australia (4th Edition, 2007). The Dal Pont and Chalmers textbook is also the text recommended in Trusts (taken in second semester) and this should be taken into consideration where students choose to purchase the text.

Students recommend using the course reader extensively.
Study strategies

Students recommended:



  • Keeping up with the readings and make notes as you go along;

  • Attending tutorials, they are extremely valuable;

  • Reading - and keep reading; and

  • ‘The man who wrote the textbook wrote a summary book of it… it’s easier to read’.


Student comments

  • ‘Both Natalie and Peter are fantastic lecturers. A potentially dry topic is made enjoyable by such enthusiastic and personable lecturers’.

  • ‘Natalie is an excellent, if slightly demanding tutor- makes you work’.

  • ‘Very interesting, not dull and boring like 90% of law units. Nat and Pete kick ass!’


ADMINISTRATIVE LAW I

Unit Coordinator Dr Simon Young.

Lecturers and Tutors - Dr Simon Young, Richard Hooker, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Peter Johnston.
Overview

Administrative Law I examines the common law principles and procedures that govern the judicial review of decisions from public administrative bodies (at a State level) and public officials. This unit focuses on grounds of review, including a denial of natural justice, ultra vires, jurisdictional error and the statutory overlay.


Many of the students surveyed quite enjoyed the unit. Much of this can be attributed to the excellent lecturing and tutoring by Simon Young and Richard Hooker. The good structure of the lectures and the thorough tutorials ensured that this unit was comprehensible to most.
Ratings: Standard of teaching

Workload

Unit Structure

Difficulty

Enjoyment

Online Resources

Assessment Structure















Simon

Richard










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