What To Teach When Teaching Law: The Categories, Rights, Duties And Test (‘CRDT’) Framework

Benedict Sheehy, Juan Diaz-Granados, Tomas Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article provides a framework for law academics to teach law to all levels of students. It develops a ‘Categories, Rights, Duties and Test’ (CRDT) conceptual framework which provides a structure for thinking about teaching and about how law teaching can be developed in a more systematic fashion. The article introduces the CRDT framework, a framework which focuses attention on the distinctly legal concepts that provide the core building blocks for any legal system. Use of the framework also has the advantage that it helps students develop the core analytical skills necessary for legal practitioners. The distinctions created in the CRDT framework facilitates student learning as the students are able to transfer the same conceptual framework between different subjects. Further, we explain how this approach supports consideration of positive, professional, and policy aspects of law. Having repeated use of the CRDT framework strengthens students’ grasp of law not only as a practice and as an intellectual activity but the contribution law makes to policy. Finally, it facilitates sharper thinking about law and areas of law as it helps to distinguish the conceptual core of law as a discipline from the substantive content of a specific area of law. It moves the ‘what to teach’ beyond the doctrine-skills debate that has dominated the law academy for decades.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages16
JournalCanberra Law Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2022


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