This unit provides a thorough introduction to the important institutions and processes that influence the ongoing development of law in Australia, their history, context and contemporary relevance. You’ll become equipped with the skills necessary to find, interpret, critique and apply legal knowledge in both its legislative and adjudicative mode.

The topics covered in this unit include:

  • Legal education
  • Sovereignty and sovereign power
  • The Australian model of governance
  • The judiciary and judicial reasoning
  • Structure and hierarchy of Australian courts
  • The tradition of Parliament and parliamentary process
  • Limitations of the formalist view of power.

SCU lecturer, Adian Ricketts on the Legal Institutions and Process unit.

Learning outcomes

  • Describe the historical foundations of Australian law
  • Describe the ways in which formal law making bodies function in the Australian context
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the formal and informal institutions and processes which shape the development of Australian law
  • Analyse and critique the operation of Australian legal institutions from a variety of historical and theoretical perspectives
  • Demonstrate awareness of the nature of legal education and their own role as a student of law
  • Demonstrate awareness of current themes and future directions in the development of Australian law.
  • Engage in academic research, utilising and acknowledging a variety of sources

Unit assessor

Mr Aidan Ricketts 
Lecturer at the School of Law and Justice.


  • Quiz (due Week 1): 10%
  • Essay (due Week 3): 40%
  • Quiz (due Week 5): 10%
  • Exam, take-home (due Week 7): 40%.


You can study this unit as part of the Master of Business Law.


Please note, unit structure and content are subject to change. Contact your SCU Online student advisor on 1300 589 882 for more information based on your particular circumstances.