LEGAL580-19A (HAM)

Special Topic: Equality and the Law

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
Te Piringa - Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law Dean's Office


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Paper Description

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This paper will cover aspects of equality and law in Aotearoa New Zealand in relation to issues such as sex and gender, ethnicity, age, disability, Indigenous peoples and sexual orientation. The relationship between equality and law will be analysed in a broader context for instance, the nexus between tino rangatiratanga (or self-determination) and equality.

In terms of intellectual background, the paper will consider the principles and theories underpinning equality and discrimination, including the causes of equality and discrimination and the role of intersectional discrimination. This paper will analyse the role to be played by law as a means to ensure equality; to that end, the scope of current prohibitions on discrimination and exceptions to such prohibitions will be examined, as will mechanisms for enforcing the legislation and any remedies.

A key feature of this paper is its critical engagement with, and scrutiny of, the assumptions that underlie traditional thinking concerning equality and the capacities and limitations of law to respond to discrimination and to ensure equality and the related need to respond effectively to intersectional discrimination.

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Paper Structure

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Students are required to attend a weekly seminar. A detailed lecture outline for this course may be found at the end this course outline.

NOTE: This is a 6 week paper. The final class is 4 April. The lecture schedule is therefore empty in the remaining weeks before and after the teaching recess.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • develop expertise in the current legislative approaches to equality
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • develop a critical understanding of the historical and theoretical foundations of the relationship between equality and law
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  • evaluate the effectiveness of law in changing social practices and upon on the achievement of equality, including through international comparison
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  • consider whether alternative approaches offer better prospects of achieving equality
    Linked to the following assessments:
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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam.

The Assessment for this paper comprises a: Research Proposal, Research Presentation and a Research Project.

Research Proposal

The research proposal should be 2,000 words in length and comprise:

A Topic and Thesis Statement. This sets out in one or two paragraphs the topic you intend to research. The statement should open with the questions and issues which have stimulated your interest in the topic followed by an explanation of why these questions merit the research in the way you propose. The statement should include a tentative thesis statement in which you articulate the propositions upon which your research paper is focused and any conclusions which you anticipate may emerge from your research.

An Annotated Structural Outline: this comprises an annotated outline of the structure of the proposed paper broken down into section headings. Under each heading you should provide a short explanation of how this section of the paper relates to the purpose of your research and your argument. Bear in mind the logic of the argument you want to make in support of the conclusion you aim to draw in answering your research questions.

An Annotated Bibliography: this comprises an interim bibliography annotating the items of core literature that appear to be relevant to your topic.

In some circumstances, additional material will be required, e.g., a timetable for the attainment of different objectives, a section on methodology, or an outline of ethical issues.

The research proposal is not binding. Research work inevitably keeps changing, right up to its completion. The process of putting a proposal together veri?es that you have found at least one piece of work that appears to be viable, and have begun to think systematically about the issues it raises.

You may be required to amend your research proposal to ensure that you are adequately prepared to begin writing your research paper. The criteria involved in marking the proposal include:

Clarity of definition of the topic;

Logic, clarity and organisational structure of the outline;

Relevance of the annotated bibliography and quality of the annotations;

Proper use of the New Zealand Law Style Guide.

Research Project

The limit for the research paper is 8,000 words (footnotes included, bibliography excluded). In this paper the student must demonstrate the ability to:

  • Engage in a detailed and critical analysis of the law relevant to the topic;
  • Locate the topic in the relevant context(s);
  • Make appropriate comparisons, if relevant; and
  • Identify, discuss and analyse relevant core legal concepts.

Research Video Presentation

Students will be required to make a 3 minute presentation on their draft research paper, which is to be uploaded to Moodle. This presentation should address the following questions:

  • What are you researching?
  • Why are you researching this topic?
  • What are the values or outcomes of your research?
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Proposal
29 Apr 2019
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Research Paper
24 Feb 2019
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Student Video Presentation
24 May 2019
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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All law students are required to purchase, for use in all law papers, a copy of McLay, Murray & Orpin, New Zealand Law Style Guide, 3rd edition, Thomson Reuters (2018).This is available from Bennetts Bookshop.

Further required readings will be posted on the Moodle page for Law and Equality

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Recommended Readings

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Recommended readings will be posted on the Equality and Law Moodle page.
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Online Support

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All readings and power point slides will be posted on Moodle.
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Workload: 150 hours.

In addition to lecture attendance, significant time will need to be spent on background and complementary reading.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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There are clear linkages between this paper and all other papers with a focus on Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples.

Also links to the 2019 special topic. LEGAL441-19B Sex, Gender and the Law.

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Entry is at the discretion of the Chairperson of Department.




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