Credit points


Campus offering

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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

The Rule of Law, and access to legal advice, are the basis of free, democratic, and just societies which promote personal dignity, thriving communities, and the Common Good. Law graduates working in legal practice, in business, in government, and in the community play an essential role in promoting and upholding the Rule of Law in Australia and across the world. The Bachelor of Laws degree is an accredited degree for admission as a legal practitioner in Australia.

This is a specified unit. The Law of Torts deals with a range of non-contractual civil wrongs including intentional interference with the person, trespass to land or chattels, nuisance and breach of statutory duty. Its principal focus is on the law of negligence including the duty it imposes, breach of that duty, defences and remedies. Discussion will also be in the area of legislation limiting remedies through the various statutory compensation schemes operating in Australia.

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 law relating to Torts Law in Australia (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10) 

LO2 - Apply the law to factual situations and have an understanding of essential tort principles regarding rights and obligations in those situations (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA10) 

LO3 - Compare and contrast Australian law with that in other jurisdictions and evaluate its effectiveness (GA3, GA4, GA6). 

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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: 

  1. The nature of the Law of Torts and compensation schemes  
  2. Negligence: The duty of care, the standard of care and breach and causation 
  3. Defences to Negligence 
  4. Damages for Personal Injury 
  5. Liability of Public Authorities and Breach of Statutory Duty 
  6. Negligence resulting in Economic Loss and Mental Harm 
  7. Loss Distribution Mechanisms (Vicarious Liability, Non-Delegable Duties, Contribution between Tortfeasors and Proportionate Liability) 
  8. Trespass to the Person 
  9. Trespass to Land 
  10. Nuisance 
  11. Introduction to False and Misleading Conduct and Economic Torts 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

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

Duration:4 hours per week over 12 weeks or equivalent. Students are expected to spend 150 hours in total for this unit. 


This level two specified Law unit allows students to demonstrate knowledge, skills and understanding in a specialist area of law to meet the requirements of accreditation.  

Our strategy is to encourage students to creatively engage with unit content and to apply fundamental legal knowledge, skills and understandings to address legal problems.  

The unit is designed to be delivered in intensive, weekly 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 required for accreditation.  

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 in a minimum of 8 out of 12 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, GA10 

Assignment 2: (1,500 words maximum): students are required to demonstrate their ability to research an assigned topic and critically evaluate the relevant legal systems and laws. This assignment recognises the need for developing skills in locating, referencing, analysing research materials and training in legal writing skills. A rubric will be utilised for this assessment.    


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA9, GA10 

Final Examination: 

This assessment recognises the need for developing skills to work through and provide a legal solution to a given legal problem within the time frame of the examination period. Exam will be completed online via LEO. 


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA9, GA10 

Representative texts and references

Martin Davies and Ian Malkin, Torts (LexisNexis Butterworths, latest edition)  

Amanda Stickley, Australian Torts Law. (Lexis Butterworths, 4th ed, 2016) 

Carolyn Sapideen, Prue Vines and Penelope Watson, Torts: commentary and materials (Lawbook Co., 12th ed, 2016)  

Duncan Holmes, Torts (LexisNexis Butterworths, 8th ed, 2016). 

Mandy Shircore, Torts (Lawbook Co., 2015) 

Sarah Withnall Howe, Greg Walsh and Patrick Rooney Torts (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2015).   

Corrie Goodhand and Peter O'Brien, Intentional tort litigation in Australia: assault, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and related claims (The Federation Press, 2015).           

Andrew Clarke, John Devereux, Julia Werren and Jennifer O'Reilly, Torts: a practical learning approach (LexisNexis Butterworths, 3rd ed, 2014).  

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