Releasing February 2023: Foundations of the Australian Legal System – History, Theory and Practice

To be released in February 2023, this book is an introduction to the foundations of the Australian legal system. Written by our WALTA president, Professor Augusto Zimmermann, and Emeritus Professor Gabriël A. Moens AM, it deals with the historical and philosophical origins of our legal system, its underlying principles, and practice. As such, this book details the fascinating history of the common law and describes the contribution of leading jurists to the development of this legal system. Throughout, the book focuses on the importance and continuing relevance of the ‘rule of law’ for the maintenance of a mature legal system. It also covers a wide field of topics ranging from the basic building blocks of the legal system (for example how to refer to cases, legislation, and journals), to a consideration of ‘precedent’, the principles of statutory interpretation, and the sophisticated and demanding world of the management of international disputes.

The book also details the legal ethics and legal responsibility of lawyers.


Chapter 1. Studying Law

Chapter 2. What is Law?

Chapter 3. History of the Common Law

Chapter 4. Great Jurists of the Common Law

Chapter 5. The Rule of Law

Chapter 6. Constitutional Theory

Chapter 7. Western Constitutionalism

Chapter 8. The Westminster System

Chapter 9. Australian Constitutionalism

Chapter 10. The Australian Federal System

Chapter 11. Precedent as a Source of Law

Chapter 12. Legislation as a Source of Law

Chapter 13. Statutory Interpretation

Chapter 14. The Australian Court System

Chapter 15. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Chapter 16. The Management of International Disputes

Chapter 17. Legal Ethics and Legal Responsibility


Augusto Zimmermann is a Professor and Head of Law at Sheridan Institute of Higher Education. He is a former Law Reform Commissioner with the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia, the founder and president of the Western Australian Legal Theory Association (WALTA), and Editor-in-Chief of the Western Australian Jurist law journal. He has an extensive publication record, particularly in relation to jurisprudence and freedom of speech.

Gabriël A Moens AM is an Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Queensland and an Adjunct Professor at The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney, and at Curtin University. He is an award-winning author, who has researched and written widely, particularly in the areas of jurisprudence, constitutional law, and commercial law and arbitration.