University of Technology Sydney

70617 Administrative Law

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2021 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Law
Credit points: 8 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 70616c Australian Constitutional 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. See access conditions.


Administrative law regulates decisions and actions of government. This subject considers various mechanisms designed to control the conduct of officials who exercise broad discretionary powers, from government ministers to public servants and tribunal members. These fall into three main groups. First, what's known as the integrity branch includes the ombudsman, freedom of information requests, privacy rules and anti-corruption watchdogs. Second, tribunals regularly exercise merits review of government decisions. Therefore, this subject explores in particular the powers of the federal Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Third, the courts exercise supervision over the executive arm of government by conducting judicial review of executive decisions and actions. Around half of class time in this subject is devoted to the large and complex body of law which has developed to spell out the central principles of judicial review and the rights of the individual in dealing with government through administrative law.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Develop an advanced understanding of how governments lawfully make decisions and an individual’s rights in relation to the exercise of governmental authority.
2. Evaluate and apply the components of, and procedures for, lawful decision-making by government bodies and the administrative and judicial avenues for the review of those decisions.
3. Demonstrate advanced skills in statutory interpretation.
4. Generate reasoned and persuasive arguments appropriate to different forums.
5. Express themselves in a professional manner through conveying succinct, logical and relevant legal analysis.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes which reflect the course intended learning outcomes:

  • Legal Knowledge
    A coherent understanding of fundamental areas of legal knowledge, including the Australian legal system, social justice, cultural and international contexts and the principles and values of ethical practice (LAW.1.0)
  • Research skills
    Well-developed cognitive and practical skills necessary to identify, research, evaluate and synthesise relevant factual, legal and policy issues (LAW.4.0)
  • Communication and Collaboration
    Effective and appropriate communication skills, including highly effective use of the English language, an ability to inform, analyse, report and persuade using an appropriate medium and message and an ability to respond appropriately (LAW.5.0)

Teaching and learning strategies

Strategy 1: Students’ Off-campus Preparation

Students spend time preparing for each lecture and tutorial by reading and by reflecting upon what they have learnt after each class. A reading guide on UTSOnline sets out the material that they are expected to have read prior to lectures. Lecture slides and recordings are available on UTSOnline after each lecture.

Strategy 2: Using Off-campus Resources to Keep Learning Current and Relevant

Timely items, such as recent cases or news reports, will be posted on UTSOnline and discussed in lectures and tutorials so that students develop an understanding of the organic development of Administrative Law in the real world.

Strategy 3: Learning through Engagement in Lectures

Lecturers engage students in learning about challenging principles of Administrative Law. Lectures are recorded and available for student review.

Strategy 4: Simulated Practice as an Administrative Lawyer

Students prepare a realistic legal document (such as an advice, application form or submissions) based on a fictional administrative law scenario. This will require students to deploy research skills in the context of statutory interpretation and administrative review.

Strategy 5: Learning through Tutorial Discussion

Each week, students will engage in discussions in tutorials, with opportunities to seek immediate feedback from tutors and peers or seek clarification of ongoing learning.

Subject Delivery

Administrative law is delivered by way of lectures, tutorials and online platforms disseminating information.


There are two 1.5 lectures per week. All lectures will be delivered online.

Recordings of lectures 1-9 will be made available via UTSOnline.

Lectures 10-19 will be delivered 'live' at the designated lecture times via Zoom, and students may attend via Zoom if they wish. Lectures 10-19 will also be recorded and made available within 2 working days of the date of their delivery via UTSOnline.

Powerpoint slides referred to during the lectures will be posted on UTSOnline.


There will be one 1.5 hour tutorial in weeks 3-12.

In weeks 3-5, 7-10, all tutorials will be delivered via Zoom.

In weeks 6, 11 and 12, the tutorials for six (6) tutorial groups will be delivered in face-to-face (f2f) classes and the tutorials for three (3) tutorial groups will be delivered via Zoom.

Attendance at all tutorials (whether online or f2f) is strongly advised but is not compulsory.


A single Discussion Board with threads for each topic covered in the subject will also be established. Students may post substantive questions relating to the material covered in the subject on the Discussion Board. Members of the teaching team will check and reply to questions raised by students throughout the semester.

The timetabled activities for this subject can be found on the UTS timetable online at Students enrolled in this subject can view their personalised timetable in My Subject Activities online at

Content (topics)

· Introduction to Administrative Law

· Statutory Interpretation

· Merits Review

· Administrative Appeals Tribunal

· Complaint Handling – the Ombudsman

· Freedom of Information, Privacy and the Integrity Branch

· Introduction to Judicial Review

· Delegated Legislation

· Jurisdiction and Standing under the Common Law and Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act

· Remedies

· Grounds of Judicial Review (including Errors of Law, Procedural Fairness and Jurisdictional Error)

· Privative Clauses


Assessment task 1: 3 Quizzes


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:


This task contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes:


Weight: 20%

Each quiz will contain 10 questions. All quiz questions will be multiple choice or true/false. There will be no short answer questions.


Quiz 1 will test your knowledge of the topics covered in weeks 2, 3 and 4 (ie, Introduction to Administrative Law, Merits Review, the Ombudsman, and Public Investigatory Bodies).

Quiz 2 will test your knowledge of the topics covered in weeks 6 and 7 (ie, Delegated Legislation, Introduction to Judicial Review, Common Law Jurisdiction, ADJR Act, and Standing).

Quiz 3 will test your knowledge of the topics covered in weeks 8 and 9 (ie, Remedies, Errors of Law, Procedural Fairness (Parts 1 and II)).

Assessment task 2: Written Assignment


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2, 3 and 4

This task contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes:

LAW.1.0, LAW.4.0 and LAW.5.0

Weight: 40%

3000 words maximum (excluding references). There is no 10% leeway.

  • Knowledge of merits review;
  • Identification of relevant issues;
  • Persuasive and coherent arguments and application of statutory and case law;
  • Appropriate or relevant use of secondary material such as policy, Second Reading speeches and Explanatory Memoranda to interpret the scope of statutory powers;
  • Use of written expression in the style of legal advocate;
  • Clarity of structure, with appropriate headings;
  • Footnoting in accordance with AGLC4.

Assessment task 3: Final Open Book Examination


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2 and 3

This task contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes:

LAW.1.0, LAW.4.0 and LAW.5.0

Weight: 40%

2000 words maximum (including references). There is no 10% leeway.

  • Understanding of common law and Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act judicial review;
  • Identification of relevant issues;
  • Application of rules and caselaw;
  • Academic writing and plain English expression.

Required texts

Judith Bannister, Anna Olijnyk and Stephen McDonald, Government Accountability: Australian Administrative Law (CUP, 2nd ed, 2018)

Recommended texts

  • Judith Bannister and Anna Olijnyk, Government Accountability: Australian Administrative Law - Sources and Materials (CUP, 2018).

This is a companion 'Sources and Materials' text to complement the assigned textbook. Students may wish to, but are not required to, purchase this text, which includes extracts from cases and statutes cited in the textbook.

On administrative law generally:

  • Peter Cane, Leighton McDonald and Kristen Rundle, Principles of Administrative Law (Oxford University Press, 3rd ed, 2018).
  • Peter Cane, Leighton McDonald and Kristen Rundle, Cases for Principles of Administrative Law (Oxford University Press, 3rd ed, 2018).
  • Robin Creyke, Matthew Groves, John McMillan and Mark Smyth, Control of Government Action: Text, Cases and Commentary (LexisNexis, 5th ed, 2018).
  • Matthew Groves (ed), Modern Administrative Law in Australia: Concepts and Context (Cambridge University Press, 2014).
  • W B Lane and Simon Young, Administrative Law in Australia (Lawbook, 2007).
  • Michael Head, Administrative Law: Context and Critique (Federation Press, 4th ed, 2017).
  • Roger Douglas et al, Douglas and Jones’s Administrative Law (Federation Press, 8th ed, 2018).
  • Matthew Groves and H P Lee (eds), Australian Administrative Law: Fundamentals, Principles and Doctrines (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
  • Fiona McKenzie, Administrative Power and the Law (LexisNexis, 2006).

On judicial review specifically:

  • Mark Aronson, Matthew Groves and Greg Weeks, Judicial Review of Administrative Action and Government Liability (Thomson Reuters, 6th ed, 2017).

On merits review specifically:

  • J R S Forbes, Justice in Tribunals (Federation Press, 5th ed, 2019).
  • Dennis Pearce, Administrative Appeals Tribunal (LexisNexis, 4th ed, 2015).
  • Robin Creyke, Tribunals in the Common Law World (Federation Press, 2009).
  • Peter Cane, Administrative Tribunals and Adjudication (Hart Publishing, 2009).
  • Moira Paterson, Freedom of Information and Privacy in Australia: Information Access 2.0 (LexisNexis, 2nd ed, 2015).

On public law more generally:

  • Gabrielle Appleby, Alexander Reilly and Laura Grenfell, Australian Public Law (Oxford University Press, 3rd ed, 2018).
  • George Williams, Sean Brennan and Andrew Lynch, Blackshield and Williams Constitutional Law and Theory (Federation Press, 7th ed, 2018).
  • Anthony J Connolly, The Foundations of Australian Public Law: State, Power, Accountability (Cambridge University Press, 2017).
  • David Clark, Introduction to Australian Public Law (LexisNexis, 5th ed, 2016).
  • Tony Blackshield, Roger Douglas and George Williams, Public Law in Australia (Federation Press, 2010).
  • Nicholas Aroney et al, The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia: History, Principle and Interpretation (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

On statutory interpretation:

  • Dennis Pearce, Statutory Interpretation in Australia (LexisNexis, 9th ed, 2019).
  • Lisa Burton Crawford et al, Public Law and Statutory Interpretation: Principles and Practice (Federation Press, 2017).
  • Michelle Sanson, Statutory Interpretation (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed, 2017).

On delegated legislation:

  • Dennis Pearce and Stephen Argument, Delegated Legislation in Australia (LexisNexis, 5th ed, 2017).

On legal writing and grammar:

  • Michele M Asprey, Plain Language for Lawyers (Federation Press, 4th ed, 2010).