Breadth

Melbourne Law School is an innovative and vibrant School that highly values the student experience. The academic staff at Melbourne Law School are recognised as leaders in their fields, both in Australia and around the world.

Why take Law as breadth in undergraduate degrees?

Our academics draw on their legal scholarship and professional engagements to teach in a way that is challenging and intellectually stimulating.

The Law School offers a range of engaging and relevant breadth subjects to students undertaking New Generation Degrees. Law subjects offered as breadth are designed to complement undergraduate curricula, and to provide students with an insight into the law, legal language and legal processes, as well as to teach legal thinking and skills.

Some of these subjects will require specific prerequisite chains; others are offered with few or no prerequisites, making them an excellent choice for later-year students who may not have studied law as breadth in the first year of their degree.

Subjects are grouped together in specific breadth tracks or students are free to select individual subjects from the breadth tracks to suit their own desired areas of study.

Many undergraduate students contemplating graduate legal study, and in particular those considering an application to the Juris Doctor degree, enrol in law breadth subjects. These subjects provide a useful introduction to the study of law. However, it is not a condition of entry to the JD to have studied law breadth subjects. Find out more regarding entry into the Melbourne JD.

Breadth Experience - Arts

University of Melbourne Arts undergraduate and current JD student Henry Bantick talks about his experience studying Melbourne Law School breadth subjects. Henry describes the high calibre teaching staff, student cohort and how the subjects provided great exposure to Law specifically how it opens up more pathways for the future in combination with his Arts degree.

Breadth Experience - Commerce

University of Melbourne Commerce undergraduate and current JD student Natalie Ngo talks about her experience studying Melbourne Law School breadth subjects. Natalie talks about how the program helped complement her undergraduate studies, how it sparked her fascination with law and the desire to help people through the legal system.

Breadth Experience - Science

University of Melbourne Science undergraduate Luisa Borg talks about her experience studying a Melbourne Law School breadth subject – specifically the diversity of the breadth student cohort, how the subject challenged her perspective and how it provides the perfect pathway into the Melbourne JD program.

What subjects can students take as breadth in Law?

Undergraduate breadth study at Melbourne Law School is offered in three broad categories:

  • Business and the Law

    These subjects emphasise the linkage between business and the legal realm, with a focus on ensuring that students have an understanding of the essentials of contract law, tort law, taxation law and workplace (labour) law.

    Principles of Business Law

    • Offered: Semester 1 and 2, 2017
    • Level 1 subject
    • No prerequisites

    This is a highly popular subject that acts as an introduction to the law from a business perspective. Principles of Business Law is a first year subject that forms the foundation for further study in the area of business law. Topics covered include the nature and purpose of law, how law is made, and how this develops and changes over time, contracts, torts (liability for injury or loss) and laws relating to consumer protection (misleading and unconscionable conduct).

    Handbook details: BLAW10001

    Corporate Law

    • Offered: Semester 1, 2017
    • Level 2 subject
    • Prerequisite: Principles of Business Law

    This is a second year subject for students who have completed Principles of Business Law and are interested in continuing to study business law as breadth. This subject focuses on the regulation of companies and the legal environments in which they operate.

    Handbook details: BLAW20001

    Taxation Law I*

    • Offered: Semester 2, 2017
    • Level 3 subject
    • Prerequisite: Principles of Business Law
    • Recommended background knowledge: It is strongly recommended that students have completed at least 100 points of undergraduate study before enrolling in this subject.

    For students with an interest in taxation law, this subject covers the basics of Australian taxation law, including an overview of the tax system, income tax, fringe benefit tax and GST law. This subject is taught by Law's award-winning tax teacher, Sunita Jogarajan. It is likely to be of particular interest to students majoring in accounting and/or finance. Students interested in Taxation Law I are strongly encouraged to complete Corporate Law first. However, it is not compulsory that they do so.

    Handbook details: BLAW30002

    Taxation Law II*

    • Offered: Semester 1, 2017
    • Level 3 subject
    • Prerequisites: Principles of Business Law; Taxation Law I
    • Recommended background knowledge: It is strongly recommended that students have completed at least 100 points of undergraduate study before enrolling in this subject.


    Taxation Law II will deepen student's knowledge of taxation law and will include discussion on tax avoidance, ethics and responsibilities, accounting and taxing of superannuation. The subject is likely to be of particular interest to students majoring in accounting and/or finance.

    * Completion of Tax Law I and Tax Law II satisfies the requirements for a Tax Practitioners Board ‘approved course in Australian taxation law’ under the ‘mix and match’ approach.

    Handbook details: BLAW30003

    Employment Law

    • Offered: Semester 1, 2017
    • Level 3 subject
    • Recommended background knowledge: Principles of Business Law. It is also strongly recommended that students have completed at least 100 points of undergraduate study before enrolling in this subject.

    This subject provides an overview of the law governing employment and human resource management in Australia. It does so in a policy context. Students will examine key legal topics and issues in human resource management, through a number of case studies drawn from current disputes and issues in the field. This subject is ideal for students with an interest in human resources management, as well as those concerned more broadly with the economic, political and social dimensions of the employment relationship. Students seeking to better understand their rights and obligations as an employee or an employer will also find the subject of great interest.

    Handbook details: LAWS30029

    Competition and Consumer Law

    • Offered: Semester 2, 2017
    • Level 3 subject
    • Recommended background knowledge: It is strongly recommended that students have completed at least 100 points of undergraduate study before enrolling in this subject.

    This subject focuses on the law that regulates the activities of business in the marketplace. It is concerned with the way in which businesses compete and market their products and services to consumers. The subject introduces students to an interdisciplinary approach in the study of law, through the introduction and application of economic concepts and theories in a legal context. It is likely to be of particular interest to students majoring in business, economics, management and marketing.

    Handbook details: BLAW30004

  • The Law in Social, Cultural and Historical Context

    These subjects focus on how the law operates in and is influenced by its historical, cultural and social context.

    Comparative Legal Traditions

    • Offered: Semester 1, 2017
    • Level 2 subject
    • Recommended background knowledge: 100 points of undergraduate study

    This subject explores the ways in which the historical and social context can affect attitudes towards the law. This subject explores legal solutions to selected problem scenarios (eg morality and the law, consumer and the law, equality at work) in their broader historical and societal context. The focus is on the main 'families' of law in existence today: the Anglo-American ('common') law and the Continental-European ('civil') law. The use of a comparative approach both facilitates and promotes a deeper understanding of the society in which we live and the rules by which it is shaped.

    Handbook details: LAWS20006

    Environmental Rights and Responsibilities

    • Offered: Semester 2, 2017
    • Level 2 subject
    • Recommended background knowledge: 100 credit points of undergraduate study

    This subject provides an overview of the law that affects and regulates the environment, human relationships with the environment and the conduct of environmental agencies and environmental professionals. It explores this broad topic through a frame of 'rights and responsibilities', especially in the context of a rise of interest in human rights within environmental law. The subject will bring together a number of sub-disciplines within the law, each with their own concepts of rights and responsibilities and different approaches to the environment. They may include environmental torts (the law of civil wrongs), international environment law, environmental crime, conservation laws, human rights law, property law and environmental and planning law.

    Handbook details: LAWS20009

    Food Law and Policy

    • Offered: Semester 2, 2017
    • Level 1 subject
    • No prerequisites

    This subject examines how law impacts on food systems and whether it can help solve difficult problems at different stages of food production and consumption. Students will learn about the range of different laws and regulations in Australia and around the world that impact on food systems through analysis of how law and regulation addresses conflicts and problems that arise at four overlapping phases of the food system.

    Handbook details: LAWS10005

    Human Rights and Global Justice

    • Offered: Semester 2, 2017
    • Level 2 subject
    • Recommended background knowledge: 100 points of undergraduate study

    This is a University Breadth Subject that seeks to bring together an interdisciplinary view of human rights, with input from law, science, politics and historical perspectives. The subject draws upon specific human rights case studies to investigate broad themes, such as state sanctioned torture, foreign aid and development, humanitarian intervention, refugees, human trafficking, human rights and climate change, bioethics and human rights. Coordinated by the Melbourne Law School the subject is taught by members of the schools of Political Science, Law, Historical Studies and Population Health.

    Handbook details: UNIB20009

    Legal Language

    • Offered: Semester 1, 2017
    • Level 2 subject
    • No prerequisites

    This subject explores the cultural and institutional languages of law. It focuses on the art and craft of judicial judgment, and works through close readings of selected judgments in a variety of legal areas in Australia - administrative law, constitutional law, criminal law, tort law, equity, and property law to name a few. The examples demonstrate the ways in which the language of law is given institutional form (eg in courts or in administration), and cultural expression (eg literature and media).

    This subject forms part of the Law and Justice Minor, an initiative of Melbourne Law School with Criminology in the Social and Political Sciences School.

    Handbook details: LAWS20008

    Public Trials

    • Offered: Semester 2, 2017
    • Level 3 subject
    • No prerequisites

    This subject focuses on the role of trials in the drama of public life. Students will learn what happens in a trial, as well as exploring the wider issues of what the trial represents for the community in which it takes place. The subject asks what can we learn about communities by looking at specific trials? This can relate to injustice, social instability, nationhood, political identity and the role of trials in reforming laws and transforming the events to which they respond. The subject will use case studies including Mabo, Hindmarsh Island Bridge, the Ronald Ryan and Lindy Chamberlain trials, Tampa, David Hicks and OJ Simpson.

    This subject forms part of the Law and Justice Minor, an initiative of Melbourne Law School with Criminology in the Social and Political Sciences School.

    Handbook details: LAWS30024

  • Free Speech, Social Media and Privacy

    These subjects explore the contemporary legal realms surrounding the regulation of media (particularly social media), intellectual property, free speech and the 'right' to privacy.

    Free Speech and Media Law

    • Offered: Semester 2, 2017
    • Level 1 subject
    • No prerequisites

    This is a subject that investigates notions of free speech and censorship. With the rise of social media and online news, the traditional methods for regulating media are becoming quickly outdated. People are often in the dark about what constitutes libel, and many believe that words posted online on social media such as Facebook, or personal blogs is exempt from laws governing media. This subject will discuss the intersections of free speech, censorship, defamation laws, blasphemy, obscenity, privacy, hacking, trespass, the 'right' to protest and laws relating to social media.

    Handbook details: BLAW10002

    Privacy Law and Social Networks

    • Offered: February 2017
    • Level 2 subject
    • Recommended background knowledge: 100 points of undergraduate study

    This subject explores social networks and the ways that online privacy is both constrained and protected by the law. It will detail the shift from traditional forms of media, protected by laws relating specifically to this, and the shifting landscape of social media, requiring new forms of these laws. The subject will consider controversies relating to surveillance, privacy and protection, and will ensure that students understand the legal treatment of privacy in the context of social networks.

    Handbook details: BLAW20002

    Owning Ideas: Creation, Innovation and the Law

    • Offered: Semester 1, 2017
    • Level 3 subject
    • Recommended background knowledge: It is strongly recommended that students have completed at least 100 points of undergraduate study before enrolling in this subject.

    The capacity to generate ideas is both a fundamental characteristic of human beings and the source of humankind's cultural and economic advancement. This subject is concerned with the law's response to the issues of when and by whom ideas can be owned (ie controlled, so as to prevent others from using them). In particular, it explores the rationale for and operation of copyright, patent, trade mark and other legal systems that regulate ownership of, and access to, the products of human creativity and innovation – in the creative arts, the sciences and the business world.

    Handbook details: LAWS30017

BREADTH TRACKS

The University has developed clear breadth sequences, or 'tracks', that will help you identify coherent groups of breadth subjects and allow you to extract the maximum benefit from your breadth component.

What breadth tracks are available in Law?

Melbourne Law School currently has four Law breadth tracks. These breadth tracks are intended to provide a cogent and considered pathway through undergraduate study in law, though students planning to undertake single units of study should be advised to check the handbook to ensure that prerequisites are met.