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LAWS104 Foundations of Law and Legal Research

Teaching organisation

4 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent.

Unit rationale, description and aim

This level four unit contributes to the development of:

  • advanced theoretical and technical knowledge in the field of Wills and Succession
  • advanced, cognitive, technical and communication skills and the ability to apply these to complex Administrative law problems
  • advanced research and writing skills.
This unit provides students with the practical skills to enable them to represent clients in matters relating to wills, estates, intestacy and family provision. The unit will teach students how to take instructions form clients, draft legal documents and represent clients in estate matters in court. Students will learn about the nature and definition of a will, the formal requirements of a will, vitiating factors affecting testators and beneficiaries, revocation, republication and revival of wills, intestate succession, the administration of states of deceased persons and family provision after death.

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 - explain the principles of succession; (GA5) 

LO2 - locate the sources of state and federal legislative provisions and case law related to succession and inheritance and apply the law to different fact scenarios (GA8) 

LO3 - critique law relating to succession (GA4, GA5, GA6) and  

LO4 - take instructions from clients and develop and communicate reasoned legal opinions. (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9) 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

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 


Topics will include: 

  1. legislation relating to wills and succession  
  2. estate planning  
  3. Drafting testamentary trust wills   
  4. powers of attorney and appointments of enduring guardian  
  5. Grants of Probate  
  6. administration of estates   
  7. Rectifying wills   
  8. Family provision claims (conteste2d wills)   

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 using advanced skills of legal analysis.  


Our strategy is to encourage students to creatively engage with unit content and to practice advanced skills of legal analysis. 


The unit is designed to be delivered in intensive, weekly mode or online mode. 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 develop advanced skills of legal analysis.  


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

Case Study 


LO1 and LO2 


Review client’s current will and advise on recommended changes 



GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9 



LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA5, GA8, GA4, GA6 

Representative texts and references

Leroy Certoma, The Law of Succession in New South Wales Federation Press (2010) 

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