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Campus offering

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LAWS104 Foundations of Law and Legal Research

Teaching organisation

A two-hour lecture each week for 12 weeks, and a two-hour tutorial over 11 weeks.

Unit rationale, description and aim

New technologies not only outgrow existent legal solutions but also create new problems which challenge legal systems and lawyers. This course seeks to provide an insight into these challenges and into the responses – possible and given – by domestic and international legal systems. The course considers current regulatory approaches to technological development in a comparative perspective as well as seeks to clarify ethical questions raised by disruptive innovations. The lectures and tutorials will give students an insight into legal and ethical issues linked to technologies such as artificial intelligence, governance of the Internet, human rights in the world of innovation, posthumanism, reproductive technologies, cyberwarfare, space law and others. After accomplishing the course, students will be able to understand the regulatory problems and approaches in the area of new technologies and will possess fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to undertake work or further education in one of the areas covered.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe and critically evaluate the main legal and ethical problems in the area of technological innovation (GA2, GA4, GA10) 

LO2 - Explain the main regulatory approaches applied to new technologies (GA4, GA8, GA9) 

LO3 - Apply explained regulations to real life situations related to technological development (GA3, GA4, GA6, GA9, GA10) 

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include: 


  • Theories of law and technology 
  • Artificial Intelligence and responsibility 
  • Regulation of Internet and Social Media 
  • Human Rights and technological innovation 
  • Reproductive technologies and law 
  • Cyberwarfare 
  • Space law 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Mode: Lectures, tutorials, electronic consultation, library tasks and presentations or Online lectures and activities. 

Duration: 3 hours per week over 12 weeks or equivalent. Students are expected to spend 150 hours in total for this unit.

This level four elective unit allows students to demonstrate knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law and to use advanced dispute resolution skills. 

Our strategy is to encourage students to creatively engage with unit content and to practice advanced dispute resolution skills.

The unit is designed to be delivered in intensive, weekly or online. We have taken a blended learning approach to provide accessibility and flexibility to our students and a student focused approach that increases depth of learning and engagement through actively utilising LEO.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy is designed to assess knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law, and to apply knowledge developed in the compulsory law units to a specialist area of law.

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each of the learning outcomes listed.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Communication and Engagement

Students are required to participate skills-based tutorials, in recognition that the development of skills in locating, referencing and analysing research materials is assisted by attendance and participation in weekly tutorials. A rubric will be utilised to assess students. Should a student fail to achieve the minimum participation requirements due to illness and/or personal circumstances beyond their control, an alternative assessment may be negotiated with the National Lecturer in Charge 


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA9 

Oral/video presentation

Students research and complete either an oral or video presentation on a chosen topic


LO1, LO3 

GA3, GA4, GA6, GA9, GA10 

Research Assignment

A research paper will allow the students to deepen the knowledge of a chosen area of the subject


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA2, GA4, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Roger Brownsword, Eloise Scotford, Karen Yeung The Oxford Handbook of Law, Regulation and Technology (Oxford University Press 2017)

Victoria Sutton, Emerging Technologies Law (Vargas Publishing 2015)

William Boothby, New Technologies and the Law in War and Peace (Cambridge University Press 2019)

Andrew Murray, Information Technology Law: The Law and Society (Oxford University Press 2016, 3rd Ed)

Roger Brownsword, Law, Technology and Society: Reimagining the Regulatory Environment (Routledge 2019)

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