Word Length and Excess Word Penalties

The ANU College of Law requires students to strictly adhere to set word lengths. Penalties will be applied where those strict word limits are exceeded.

There are variations in how students are required to count the word length of their written assessment in different programs. As a result, all students must read the rules applying to their program carefully.

In particular, students in the Juris Doctor program are advised to note there are marked differences between the word count methods of JD compulsory and LLB elective courses and LLM courses.

 

Bachelor of Laws (Honours)

The method of calculation of word length for assessment pieces in all LLBHons courses (other than Honours Thesis/Research Paper) is as follows:

Unless a statement of means of assessment provides otherwise, the word length must be calculated by the student using a word processing program applied to the text (which includes headings). The footnotes will not be counted, and substantive material (other than references and citations) in the footnotes will not be assessed.  Appendices will be treated as part of the text unless they merely reproduce primary materials for the aid of the examiners.

The course convenor may require that the word length be recorded on each page, as well as the total which is required to be recorded at the end of the assignment or elsewhere.

Unless a Convenor provides advice to the contrary in the Class Summary, the following (default) excess word penalty shall apply:  the mark which is awarded initially will be reduced by half the proportion by which the word limit has been exceeded, eg if the word limit is 2,000 words, and the paper submitted is 3,000 words long, then the initial mark would be reduced by 25% of that mark.

 

Juris Doctor

The method of calculation of word length for assessment pieces in all JD compulsory courses is as follows: 

Unless a statement of means of assessment provides otherwise, the word length must be calculated by the student using a word processing program applied to the text (which includes headings).  The footnotes will not be counted, and substantive material (other than references and citations) in the footnotes will not be assessed.  Appendices will be treated as part of the text unless they merely reproduce primary materials for the aid of the examiners.

The course convenor may require that the word length be recorded on each page, as well as the total which is required to be recorded at the end of the assignment or elsewhere.

Unless a Convenor provides advice to the contrary in the Class Summary, the following (default) excess word penalty shall apply:  the mark which is awarded initially will be reduced by half the proportion by which the word limit has been exceeded, eg if the word limit is 2,000 words, and the paper submitted is 3,000 words long, then the initial mark would be reduced by 25% of that mark.

For information on the method of calculation and excess word penalty for LLBHons and LLM elective courses undertaken by students enrolled in the JD program, please see the information under the relevant headings on this webpage.

 

Master of Laws, Graduate Certificate of Law and Graduate Certificate of New Technologies Law

The method of calculation of word length for assessment pieces in Master of Laws, Graduate Certificate of Law and the Graduate Certificate of New Technologies Law courses is by means of a global word count. This means that when calculating the number of words of a piece of assessment students must include all headings, text, and footnotes (excluding bibliography). Students should calculate this using Microsoft Word’s word count function.

Unless a Convenor provides advice to the contrary in the Class Summary, the following (default) excess word penalty shall apply: the mark which is awarded initially will be reduced by half the proportion by which the word limit has been exceeded. As an example, if the word limit is 2,000 words, and the essay submitted is 3,000 words long, then the initial mark for the essay would be reduced by 25% of that mark.

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team