Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


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 Animal Law
  • advanced, cognitive, technical and communication skills and the ability to apply these to complex Administrative law problems
  • advanced research and writing skills.
This unit examines how Australian law defines and regulates the relationship between human and non-human animals. Students will be introduced to significant legal, philosophical, ethical, political, scientific, commercial and regulatory questions regarding human interactions with non-human animals. The unit explores the historical development of law - both civil and criminal - in respect of non-human animals. Regulatory arrangements will be examined in relation to non-human animals living in a range of settings, such as farms; homes; laboratories; zoos; circuses; and the wild. Although the primary focus of the unit will be upon the law in Australia, significant international developments in animal law will be considered.

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 - demonstrate an appreciation of the objectives and policies underlying the regulatory schemes that pertain to human treatment of non-human animals (GA5) 

LO2 - critically analyse those policies and objectives in light of ethical considerations and international jurisprudence and relate them to proposals for law reform (GA2, GA4, GA5, GA6) 

LO3 - provide basic legal advice to individuals and other legal entities as to their rights and obligations under the regulatory regimes that relate to the treatment of animals that are studied (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9) 

LO4 - communicate effectively, appropriately and persuasively on issues pertaining to Animal Law (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9) 

LO5 - conduct legal research, reasoning and argumentation (GA8, GA9) 

LO6 - learn and work autonomously and use feedback to improve their own capabilities and performance (GA4, GA7). 

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 

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 

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. History and theoretical context of animal law.  
  2. International and domestic regulatory context  pertaining to human treatment of non-human animals. 
  3. Regulatory schemes; eg animal as companion, entertainer, as food, as pets, animals and science, animal cruelty, animal ownership and custody.    

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 research skills.  


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


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 research skills.  


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

Assessment task 1 

Factual quiz (1,000 words) 


LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5, LO6 

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9 

Assessment task 2 

Reflective response to an animal welfare issue (1,500 words) 


LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5, LO6 

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Assessment task 3 

Animal rights problem (2,500 words) 


LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5, LO6 

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Alex Bruce, Animal Law in Australia: An Integrated Approach, (LexisNexis Butterworths, Second Edition, 2018) 


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