University of Technology Sydney

76057 Judgment and the Rule of Law

Requisite(s): ( 70616 Australian Constitutional Law OR (70110 Introduction to Law AND (76006c Public International Law OR 70108c Public International Law OR 76110c Introduction to Public International Law)) OR ((94 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C04236 Juris Doctor OR 142 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C04250 Juris Doctor Master of Business Administration OR 94 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C04363 Juris Doctor Master of Intellectual Property OR 94 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C04364 Juris Doctor Graduate Certificate Trade Mark Law and Practice) AND 70106c Principles of Public International Law AND 70107c Principles of Company Law) OR (94 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C04320 Juris Doctor Graduate Certificate Professional Legal Practice AND 70106 Principles of Public International Law))
The lower case 'c' after the subject code indicates that the subject is a corequisite. See definitions for details.
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses.
There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


Jurisprudence subjects generally address questions about what the law is, what it ought to be and what are its moral foundations. They often offer a survey of legal theorists in the Western cannon. This subject is focused in a more particular way. It critically questions dominant concepts with respect to the rule of law, precedent and the values which underpin legal judgments.

A central tenet of legal systems, founded in common law traditions, is the rule of law. Concepts which are foundational to the rule of law include consistency, neutrality and objectivity. The materials focus on two essential rule of law principles: the first being that law-making powers are not exercised arbitrarily, and the second that laws sustain a normative order and thereby stability, security and order in a community. To maintain normative order, laws must be more than predictable, well-administered and understood by the community. They also need to be meaningful and generally accepted by the community.

Drawing on Kantian and Arendtian scholars, this subject critically explores the faculty of judgment and whether there is something particular about legal judgments which differentiates them from judgments in other spheres such as politics, art or more routine decision making. A second core theme to be explored is the philosophical foundations which underpin objectivity and how these relate to legal judgments and the rule of law.

These ideas are applied to investigate relationships between precedent, tradition/history and change, judging against one's community and dissent, and how different communities of values and opinion, in particular First Nations and minority communities, can be considered within legal judgments.

The themes with respect to judgment and rule of law are explored through case studies and critical literature, with a focus on race and gender.

Detailed subject description.

Access conditions

Note: The requisite information presented in this subject description covers only academic requisites. Full details of all enforced rules, covering both academic and admission requisites, are available at access conditions and My Student Admin.