LAWS1112 Exam Reference Guide


Educational (Topic 4)
Doctrinal Approach (81) – ‘black letter’ law
Vocational Approach (84) – teaching only what is needed to be a lawyer
Liberal Approach (86) – well-rounded rational thinking
Radical Approach (88) – the current system is wrong and oppressive

Legal Theory (Topic 5)
Natural Law Theory (94) – morality/divine law is self-evident and superior to man’s laws
Natural Law Values Theory (95) – morals are absolute and derived from nature
Natural Law Legal Theory (95) - values ARE laws – laws that fail to meet them are not
Legal Positivism (102) – understand law by studying current law – (origins/nature of law)
Radical Legal Theory (108) – the current system is wrong and oppressive
Law and Economics (109) – law should be based on rational self-interest

Liberalism (Topic 6)
Individual Liberty (116) – Positive/negative liberty, exclusion for harm principle
Individual Rights (119) – human rights, natural rights and legal rights
Private Property (121) – first occupation claim, purpose of government/society
Equality (124) – formal vs. substantive
Justice (125) – ‘fair and equitable’, distributive, retributive, and procedural
Utility (128) – act vs. rule – greatest happiness principle
Neo-liberalism (130) – market freedom, corporations as people, economic evaluations

Law and Nature (Topic 7)
Moral Status (263) – Humans -> animals -> living organisms -> the earth itself
Radical Ecology (272) – deep and social ecology – need for radical change
Ecologically Sustainable Development (279) – avoid compromising future environment

Law and Human Rights (Topic 8)
Rule of Law (166) – law should be known beforehand and government should be bound

Law, gender, and Race (Topic 10)
Feminist Legal Theory (216) – law controlled by men, written from male perspective
Liberal Feminism (217) – equality and rights – changes within existing system
Radical Feminism (217) – social goals set by men, must change awareness for equality
Critical Race Theory (230) – apparent equality reinforces systemic inequality

Structure and definitions


  • Break the claim down into individual words and phrases.
  • Explain the meaning of each.
  • Explaining the meaning of the claim as a whole
  • Explain the context of the claim.


  • Identify its unstated assumptions and hidden premises (e.g. this claim seems to assume that there is a single purpose for legal education with which all should agree)
  • Explain the context of the claim in terms of the course (e.g. this claim relates to Topic 4 of the course)


  • Identify theory used (probably only one, unless claim is 100% (in)consistent)
  • Identify how the claim is consistent with it.
  • Identify how the claim is inconsistent with it.


  • Draw upon your thorough evaluation and reach a clear conclusion about the claim: do you agree with it or disagree with it, and why?


  • Why did you approach the claim in that way?
  • What did you think about the claim when you first read it? What did you think after your analysis? (hence open - mindedness)
  • What does this say about your personal values and beliefs, and about your critical skills and disposition (open-mindedness and courage)
  • Note your Bias – what affect did this have on your analysis.
  • Mention Time constraints (critical knowledge) & (Could have spoken about more)

Here’s one I prepared earlier

Interpretation and Analysis

  • “The claim can be broken down into _ components to reveal its explicit meaning.”
  • “The context of the claim identifies several of its hidden aspects.”
  • “For the purpose of this analysis, ‘law’ is a set of principles or rules that are enacted by government, embedded in constitutions and statutes, and embodied in decisions of the courts.”

Evaluation and Inference

  • “In this section I will evaluate the claim, in light of my analysis, from the perspective of , before making a set of conclusions as to its validity.”
  • “From this I can conclude that the claim is [in]consistent with the framework of __”


  • “At first I interpreted the claim as a whole. However, by separating the claim into components I was better able to derive a comprehensive and clearer meaning of the claim. This allowed me to reach a more sound interpretation. A hurdle in interpreting the claim was…”
  • “I did not originally see the assumption that the author of the claim…”
  • “At first I thought my inferences were unfair, however the processes and findings of the other critical skills supported my overall conclusion. Therefore, I think my conclusion was fair and justifiable. I also consider my conclusion to be open-minded; although I [dis]agreed with the claim, I did not…”
  • “It seems likely that the claim's reliance on assumptions consistent with my own cultural values contributed to my initial reaction”
  • “Owing to time constraints, I was unable to evaluate the claim from all relevant perspectives – most notably…”
  • “This understanding is evidence of the development of my critical disposition and skills. It demonstrates my solid ability to interpret and analyze a claim”
  • “I hope that the reader is satisfied with my self-regulation, as I have endeavored throughout to be honest, open minded and critical of my own arguments.”
  • “Consequently I am able to comment on, but poorly placed to judge, the practicality of my inferences.”
  • “My choice of a liberal framework reveals as much about my own bias as it does about the claim, as having been born and raised on a western liberal society, my values and the values of liberalism are strongly intertwined”
  • Upon completion of the essay, and the subsequent analysis of it, details were revealed about my critical disposition. A predisposition towards opposing, rather than accepting information was prevalent. It is in this way that I may possess too much courage to oppose the statement, but not enough open-mindedness to fairly and objectively consider it…

Timing Sheet

8:10 Essay 1 Interpretation and analysis

8:20 Essay 1 Evaluation and inference

8:30 Essay 1 Reflection

8:40 Essay 2 Interpretation and analysis

8:50 Essay 2 Evaluation and inference

9:00 Essay 2 Reflection

9:10 Essay 3 Interpretation and analysis

9:20 Essay 3 Evaluation and inference

9:30 Essay 3 Reflection

9:40 Essay 4 Interpretation and analysis

9:50 Essay 4 Evaluation and inference

10:00 Essay 4 Reflection