International Subjects

As a law school vitally interested in global legal practice, Melbourne Law School offers subjects that give students the chance to meet and network with international practitioners at institutional hubs such as Geneva and Washington DC.


Economic and Business Law in Asia

Shanghai, China and Hong Kong - 10 days

This subject will be taught intensively in one or more jurisdictions in Asia with the support of various host institutions and will examine, from an advanced and specialist perspective, economic and commercial law in Asia by reference to key transactions and key areas of substantive law, including:

  • Trade and investment law
  • International commercial arbitration
  • Corporate mergers and acquisitions (including business vehicles)
  • Property law
  • Finance and insolvency
  • Economic and business law reform.

The subject aims to equip students with an expert knowledge of key areas of economic and commercial law governing transactions in Asia, including the role of lawyers and the practical skills that they require in order to perform their role effectively. Through learning about the law governing transactions in selected Asian jurisdictions, students will develop an ability to examine law from a comparative perspective and will gain an advanced, integrated understanding of the nature of commercial practice in the region. The teaching methodology will incorporate a transactions-based, skills-based approach and will be enhanced through guest lectures from commercial law practitioners in Asia and representatives of host institutions.

Handbook details

LAWS90037

Further information on JD LMS Community


Global Lawyer

Washington DC and New York, USA - two weeks

This subject examines the various roles played by lawyers within the international legal order, including as advisers, advocates, negotiators, settlers of disputes, and drafters of legislation, contracts and treaties. Within the integrated theoretical frameworks of legal ethics, professional regulation, comparative law, and public and private international law, students will explore the complex functions and responsibilities of ‘international lawyers’, meaning those operating in the following international contexts:

  • Private lawyers acting in cross-border contractual negotiations, cross-border transactions such as mergers and acquisitions, or cross-border disputes involving individuals or firms
  • Private lawyers practising domestic law in foreign jurisdictions
  • Lawyers in internationally focused non-governmental organisations and think tanks
  • Government lawyers addressing international issues
  • Lawyers within the Secretariat of an international organisation.

The class will have the opportunity to hear from and interact with expert interlocutors on-site at a diverse range of governmental, intergovernmental, non-governmental and commercial entities, taking into account recent developments.

Handbook details

LAWS50071

Further information on JD LMS Community


Institutions in International Law

Geneva, Switzerland - two weeks

This subject examines the place of international institutions within the international legal order, considering their structure, normative underpinnings, and activities. It focuses on inter-governmental organisations but also considers non-governmental organisations and the role of civil society and national governments in both types of institutions. It considers how international institutions reflect conflicting notions of fragmentation and unity in international law. Principal topics to be covered include:

  • The complex role of international institutions in the development of international law and global governance
  • Introduction to specialised international institutions in Geneva and elsewhere including their history, trends in their mission, influence and importance, recent developments, and reform proposals
  • The theory surrounding fragmentation of international law, including the proliferation of institutions and dispute settlement tribunals and the proliferation of substantive laws
  • Inter-organisational cooperation, coordination and conflict in areas such as trade, human rights, the laws of war, and development
  • Participation and representation in international institutions by governments, business, civil society and secretariat staff.

The class will have the opportunity to hear from and interact with expert interlocutors on-site at a diverse range of governmental, intergovernmental, non-governmental and private entities.

Handbook details

LAWS50045

Further information on JD LMS Community


Law and Legal Practice in Asia

Delhi, India - one month

The aim of this subject is to provide students with an enhanced understanding of law and legal practice in an Asian jurisdiction through intensive pre-departure teaching, supervision of a research project on an Asian jurisdiction, a student-led seminar reflecting on their learning experiences and legal experience in an approved role in a workplace setting in Asia.

The intensive pre-departure teaching will be 8 hours long, spread over a couple of days. This teaching will be led by an expert in the chosen Asian jurisdiction and will offer an advanced introduction to the legal system of the jurisdiction. Core instruction will cover how to access current law and commentary on law in the relevant jurisdiction. In addition, students may engage actively with topical debates about law in Asia from among the following: Asian trade and investment flows and their significance for Australia businesses; managing risk in Asian investment; dispute resolution in Asia; regional regulation of the profession; human rights; public institutions; role of NGO’s. Students must actively participate in pre-departure teaching and will be assessed by an hour long in-class test.

Students must also complete at least the equivalent of a four week unsalaried work placement in a foreign jurisdiction in the nominated Asian jurisdiction. Work placements will be hosted in an organisation approved by the subject coordinators.

During work placement, students must carry out legally-oriented work that offers students a practice-based exposure to law and legal practice in the jurisdiction

The proposed work should build on the students’ studies to date in the Melbourne JD, involve written legal research work and be of an appropriately demanding standard to model professional practice.

At the end of their work placement, students are required to attend a three hour long seminar with student presentations. This seminar provides a structure for reflection on, and learning from, the work experience and how work in the jurisdiction was comparatively experienced by peers.

In 2017, the chosen jurisdiction is India.

Handbook details

LAWS90006

Further information on JD LMS Community