Information & Key Dates
|Event||Last date to enrol|
|Applications for JD Electives (enrichment opportunities)||Various dates, see details|
Applications for Round 2
|Apply until last date to self-enrol|
Applications for Round 2
|Apply until the end of first week of teaching|
Review your options and guide your future subject planning prior to completing your subject enrolment.
Course structure and study load
The number of subjects JD students complete each semester will depend on the course structure they are following.
JD course structures:
International student visa holders
International students must maintain a 50 points (4 subject) enrolment each semester to meet their visa requirements. If you wish to take less than 50 points, then you must apply for a reduced study load. If your application is approved, then a staff member will reduce your enrolment/study load for you.
At maximum, students can self-enrol into 50 points of study each semester and 25 points during an intensive period (ie summer or winter period). If you wish to study an additional subject beyond that, you will need written permission from the Assistant Dean (Teaching & Learning) before applying to overload.
If you are unable to enrol into a subject because you do not meet the prerequisite, you may in some instances be eligible for a prerequisite waiver.
Continuing students should enrol in all compulsory subjects for the upcoming year, via my.unimelb, during the re-enrolment period.
Commencing students can enrol in compulsory subjects from mid-November of the year preceding when the subject is offered.
Note: Compulsory subjects with multiple offerings are quota restricted, please refer to the Handbook for more details.
Students wishing to go on the waitlist for any intensive compulsory subject may submit an Enrolment Variation (EV) form.
|Subject||Code||Teaching Period||Spaces Available as of 05 Aug 2019 4:31pm|
Legal Research (LAWS50039) is a final year subject and should only be taken in the final 12 months of your degree.
You will not be able to self-enrol or class register for this subject; the University will do this on your behalf after you have been successfully approved for a topic.
Legal Research topic selection process
The selection process is completed in two rounds. In Round 1 students apply for up to five topics in order of preference during the application period. After applications have closed, Melbourne Law School will utilise randomised selection (via MS Excel) to allocate you to one of your chosen Legal Research topics based on your preference order. Outcomes are then provided via email for Round 1, and then Round 2 will commence.
In Round 2, this page will be updated each business day (between 3:30-5pm) to advertise which Legal Research topics are accepting further applications. Students can apply for a topic which has available spaces. Applications are processed in the order they are received. Once a topic full, any additional applications will be unsuccessful.
Students interested in a topic which is full will need to check this page daily and can only apply for a topic if a place becomes available.
Places in each topic are limited to a maximum of 18 students, unless otherwise specified.
Waitlists are not maintained for Legal Research and the enrolment limit cannot be exceeded.
How to Apply - Round 2, 2019
Step 1: Review the available Legal Research topics and prerequisites
Ensure you meet the prerequisites for your preferred topic/s as stated in the Handbook, with additional prerequisites outlined below.
Semester 1, 2019
Disability Human Rights Law
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the most recent United Nations human rights treaty. It is also the treaty with one of the highest number of ratifications in its first year. It represents an evolution of human rights law as a mechanism for responding to the specific needs of individuals who are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing human rights violations.
This topic will explore this evolution of human rights law and its effect on the wider rights structure. It will also look specifically at the rights in the CRPD and explore their interpretation and modes for implementation.
Students can focus on domestic or international issues related to the human rights of persons with disabilities. They can examine theoretical issues or more practical issues related to the implementation of the CRPD rights. Issues of intersectionality may also be explored.
Students may analyse the effect of multiple forms of marginalization on the individual; for example, individuals with disabilities that are also members of other minority groups, such as women, transgender people, or racial minorities. Students will be encouraged to draw on disability studies, legal theory, human rights law, and domestic law. They will be expected to produce a paper appropriate for scholarly peer-reviewed publication.
Law and Justice in Popular Culture
This Legal Research topic explores the role of popular culture in producing and critiquing our ideas of law and justice. Of course, this means considering the representation of classic legal offices and institutions in novels, TV, and film: the world of difference between Martha Costello in Silk and Harvey Spector in Suits.
But students will also consider how pop cultural ‘texts’ (songs, poems, paintings, fairy tales) that aren’t necessarily about law on their face play a crucial role in sculpting our normative worlds nevertheless. Now the question isn’t so much how lawyers and judges appear on screen, but how our concepts of law and justice are constituted in part by the culture we ‘consume’.
What would it mean to think Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, or Margaret Attwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale not just as objects of legal analysis (contract, copyright and so on) but as sources of law?
Law and Sexuality
Debates over the appropriate role of law in encouraging or discouraging, enabling or restricting, and protecting or punishing different kinds of sexuality have accelerated in the past years, both in Australia and around the globe.
This topic will explore the legal regulation of sexuality from a comparative perspective, asking not only what is at stake in contemporary legal debates surrounding sexuality, but also encouraging consideration about different ways of structuring law’s relation to sexuality both in Australia and elsewhere.
The topic will survey methodological issues relating not only to understanding sexuality as a legal and cultural category—for example: how is sexuality understood as distinct from sex and gender, much less race and nationality?; how does the law understand heterosexuality versus homosexuality?—but also the role of law and sexuality each in familiar and unfamiliar social, cultural, and legal contexts alike.
The topic will then deploy these methodological perspectives in the context of exploring different substantive legal issues concerning sexuality which have either arisen recently or are emerging. Substantive legal issues which may be addressed include:
- Same-sex marriage,
- Transgender rights,
- Religious freedom and sexuality rights, and
- The international human rights of sexuality.
This topic's readings will include both case-law and more sociologically-, historically-, and theoretically-inclined readings.
Native Title Law and Practice
The High Court’s 1993 Mabo decision and the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) enable Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders to seek recognition in Australian law of native title, being rights arising under their traditional laws and customs in respect of land or waters. Native title holders may also seek compensation in certain cases for acts that have extinguished or otherwise affected their native title.
A determination of native title requires proof of the content of relevant traditional laws and customs, the nature of the rights and interests, and the connection of the native title claim group with the land or waters by those laws and customs.
Other matters to be addressed at trial include whether particular rights and interests are capable of being recognised by the common law, and whether valid laws or executive acts of the State or Commonwealth have extinguished native title such that it may not be recognised.
Establishing native title also raises theoretical and practical issues regarding the nature of ‘law’ and ‘tradition’, and about the interactions between two systems of law.
Once native title is recognised, or a claim is registered, native title holders may:
- Engage with other aspects of Australian law including State land management regimes,
- Negotiate with other land users including mining companies,
- Make and implement agreements, and
- Manage the proceeds of those agreements using legal tools such as companies and trusts.
Ultimately, native title holders must manage their recognised native title rights and interests through a corporation that holds the native title on trust for them or manages it as their agent. All these matters also raise questions about the interactions of traditional laws and customs with Australian law.
This topic provides an overview of these issues, which impinge on many areas of legal practice, while providing a framework for addressing specific research questions. Students may choose a research essay topic of their own, or, potentially, a topic proposed by practitioners or researchers in the field that is of practical application.
Protecting Civilians in Situations of Armed Conflict and Post Conflict
This Legal Research topic examines the legal and policy frameworks, and practice surrounding the protection of civilians in situations of armed conflict and post conflict. It will focus on some key challenges and tensions facing international and national communities in protecting civilians.
Students will examine protection of civilians in the context of international law, by considering the application of international law regimes (for example international humanitarian law and international human rights law), treaties, customary international law, and international standards.
While the topic is based on the development and application of international law, students will be encouraged to consider the relevance of domestic law where such law might provide a better understanding of how the protection of civilians may be enhanced.
This topic will also examine the policy and practice of states and international institutions in protecting civilians. Students will be encouraged to think about how law influences policy and practice, and how policy and practice influences the law when considering the protection of civilians. The themes of protection reflected upon include:
- Responsibility to Protect (R2P),
- Responsibility to prevent,
- Protection of civilians during armed conflict,
- Protection of women during armed conflict,
- Protection of children during armed conflict,
- Paying compensation or ‘making amends’ for human collateral damage caused/sustained during armed conflict,
- The taking and handling of detainees, and
- The protection of the vulnerable in post conflict situations.
You are free to research other themes as well.
Psychology and the Criminal Process
The nature of the criminal trial, the way in which we ask and expect fact-finders to make decisions about innocence and guilt, the manner in which evidence is obtained from witnesses and subsequently evaluated, are all predicated on certain assumptions about human behaviour.
However, these assumptions are being challenged and the adequacy of existing trial processes and pre-trial evidence-gathering procedures subject to critical scrutiny, as we acquire empirical knowledge on matters such as:
- The way in which memory functions,
- The capacity of witnesses to perceive and recall events and the appearance of persons accurately, and
- The manner in which juries evaluate evidence and reach decisions.
This Legal Research topic provides students an opportunity to critically evaluate an aspect of the criminal process, in light of knowledge that has been produced by those working in the field of applied psychology.
Rationalising the Law of Constructive Trusts
Ying Khai Liew
In Trusts (LAWS50033), students would have explored three aspects regarding the law of constructive trusts: their nature (whether they are institutional or remedial), their role in the context of disputes over ownership of family assets, and their role in relation to breach of fiduciary duty.
The present legal research topic focuses on the rationales of constructive trusts. The central concern is to investigate whether there are coherent justifications which underpin particular constructive trust doctrines, or a group of doctrines, or indeed whether the law of constructive trusts can be rationalised as a whole.
In the taught seminars, students will explore in overview a number of constructive trust doctrines not covered in the Trusts subject. The primary concern will be to introduce different justifications which have been put forward for constructive trusts, both in English and Australian law.
Students will then have the freedom to choose one or more constructive trust doctrines as the topic of their research essays, but the focus must be on the issue of rationalisation. This may take one or a combination of a doctrinal perspective (rationalisation vis-à-vis case law), a normative perspective (rationalisation vis-à-vis legal or moral norms), a practical perspective (rationalisation in terms of whether the law is or is not efficient in practice), or some other perspective.
It is very strongly recommended that students have completed Trusts (LAWS50033) or equivalent before undertaking this topic.
Statelessness, Citizenship and Belonging
One of the traditional hallmarks of sovereignty is the ability of states exclusively to regulate the composition of their community, by determining the rules for the acquisition of citizenship and maintaining absolute control over immigration. However, the advent of international human rights law in the latter half of the 20th century, with its emphasis on the regulation of states’ duties vis-à-vis individuals, means that this traditional position is evolving.
Beginning with the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and continuing with the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) and International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (1966), international human rights law has begun to circumscribe states’ choices as to the formulation and application of nationality law.
Further, the protection of stateless persons (embodied in the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons) and the reduction of statelessness (as articulated in the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness) have been given significant renewed impetus by the UNHCR campaign to eradicate statelessness by 2024.
This Legal Research topic will introduce students to the international regime governing citizenship and its converse, statelessness, with a view to providing the framework needed for a wide variety of potential research projects. There is considerable flexibility in the type of research project which may be undertaken, with the possibility of approaching a project from an historical, theoretical, socio-legal or jurisprudential/doctrinal perspective.
Students will be encouraged to maximise the impact of their work by involving stakeholders in their research, a process that will be supported by the convenor of the Legal Research topic.
Statutory Interpretation: Theory and Practice
The interpretation of legislation is central to legal practice. Statutes are increasingly regulating areas that were once governed by the common law, and it is now the case that most appellate court decisions involve at least some statutory interpretation.
However, central aspects of the practice of statutory interpretation are hotly contested, both among judges and among theorists of statutory interpretation.
For example, is “legislative intent” just a label that is applied to the outcome of the interpretive process, or can Parliament form intentions concerning the meaning or operation of a statute that can then guide an interpreter of that statute?
What role does statutory purpose play in the interpretation of legislation, and how does a statute’s purpose differ from the legislature’s intent (if any) with regard to the statute?
At least in typical cases, is the contribution that a statute makes to the content of the law fixed solely by the meaning of the words contained in the statute (when those words are understood in their proper context)?
The seminars in this topic of Legal Research will explore the recent theoretical literature on these issues, as well as the approach taken by Australian courts. Students will then undertake individual research critically examining one (or more) of the theoretical issues relating to statutory interpretation, and the way in which Australian courts have grappled with that issue (or those issues).
The Data Clinic: Using Technology and Massive Data to Research Environmental Law
Brad Jessup and Yaokang Wong
In this Legal Research topic, students will research the jurisprudence of Australia’s leading environmental law jurists by using a mix of doctrinal and technological research methodologies. It will be of interest to students curious about:
- The development of environmental law principles;
- The role of judges to advance the law; or
- The use of technologies being employed in commercial legal practice to analyse massive numbers of legal judgments.
Students will learn about environmental law, the use and limitations of analytical technology in practice, and build technology skills relevant to legal practice.
Located within the Student Law Clinic, this topic will comprise one seminar introducing students to the role of the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales and its influence on environmental jurisprudence under the leadership of the current Chief Justice Brian Preston. Then, three seminars learning about and how to use natural language toolkit software in a legal context.
Students will devise a thesis based on doctrinal research of the Land and Environment Court and test their doctrinal research findings, by using software that has been built to enable the analysis of every judgment of the Land and Environment Court delivered since the inauguration of Chief Justice Brian Preston.
Students will be expected to attend a weekend coding and software familarisation session on 16 and 17 March 2019. If this is not something you can commit to, then you should reconsider your application into this Legal Research topic.
The Doctor/Patient Relationship and Emerging Technologies
Emerging technologies in healthcare are changing the traditional role of healthcare practitioners and the way they relate to their patients. For example, wearable devices and direct-to-consumer genetic testing enable health self-management approaches that are patient-centric, where individuals are increasingly in control of their healthcare data, decisions and treatment choices.
These new developments challenge existing regulation and law and there is a need for new approaches to keep up with these innovations. This Legal Research topic invites students to consider how the doctor’s role is changing as patients increasingly become ‘consumers’ of healthcare and new technologies enable different kinds of care.
The seminars will explore some key legal and ethical principles that underpin decision-making in healthcare – capacity, informed consent, parental authority, the duty to ‘do no harm’ (the ethical duties of non-maleficence and beneficence) and how these relate to the concept of patients as experts in their own healthcare (respect for patient autonomy).
Students will examine the scope of a doctor’s duty of care and the standard of care when emerging technologies are used. Discussion of case studies in the seminars will provide an opportunity to examines key issues on topics such as:
- Digital technologies,
- Direct to consumer genetic testing,
- Parents requesting innovative treatments for their child, and
- Algorithms predicting recovery from consciousness disorders.
Students may research legal and ethical issues in healthcare in diverse ways, including using case study and comparative approaches. There is a broad choice of research topics to be explored, which may include:
- 3D printing of organs,
- Crowdfunding for treatment,
- Interactive companion robot pets as monitoring devices, or
- Autonomous vehicles for the disabled.
The Idea of Equity
Matthew Harding and Hon Joseph Santamaria QC
Equity plays a distinctive role in the common law. The law expresses norms that focus on external conduct and are absolute in their application. The only exceptions are those that are themselves provided for at law. The principles of equity, which began to develop in Chancery in the late 15th century, mitigate the absolute impact of the law.
In establishing those principles, the Chancellors explored the concept of conscience, something internal. Equity restrained the pursuit of legal remedies where the insistence upon legal rights was considered to be ‘against conscience’. It also closely regulated certain essential relationships in which one party to the relationship was peculiarly vulnerable to exploitation by the other.
Although equitable principles have become established, their application depends upon a finding that a party has behaved unconscionably. More recently, the law has itself begun to adopt equitable principles as Parliament has expressed legal norms in terms previously deployed solely in equity, for example where it has proscribed conduct said to be ‘unconscionable’.
This research topic offers students the opportunity to reflect upon equity and its relationship to the law. That reflection may generate research papers exploring the origins and development of equity – its peculiar features, how and why it has come to regulate certain relationships, the rationale behind its maxims, the meaning of its touchstone ‘against conscience’ and the relatively modern development in which equitable principles are used in statute.
Semester 2, 2019
Administrative Law at the Boundaries
The Administrative Law (LAWS50032) subject can only gesture to a range of complex issues that lie at the boundaries of Australia's administrative law toolkit as it currently stands. These include:
- Efforts to increase the role of 'non-statutory executive power' as a source of administrative authority,
- The involvement of private actors in the activities of the executive through contracted-out government service delivery,
- The concept of 'administrative detention' that has been developed in the context of immigration control,
- The increasing role of 'soft law' within the administration of government power, and
- The rising use of artificial intelligence in the making of administrative decisions.
The extent to which the operational concepts, architectures and methods of our received modes of legal accountability for administrative action are capable of responding to such developments - and if so, how - is a serious question. Seminars in this Legal Research topic offers students the opportunity to explore that question more deeply from theoretical, socio-legal, and doctrinal perspectives.
To frame the topic and offer insight into the range of challenges presented by new forms of government action in the contemporary administrative state, the seminar will commence with a study of the issues raised by the important case of Plaintiff M61/2010E v Commonwealth of Australia  HCA 41.
Comparative Constitutional Law
Constitutional law is playing an increasingly important role around the world. This topic will provide you with a grounding in the purposes and methodology of comparative constitutional law. Students will then be required to compare several constitutional systems and draw lessons from this comparison about key concepts in law or how the law functions or should function.
Students can compare common law systems (Australia, US, UK, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Pacific Islands) or consider jurisdictions in Asia, Africa, or Europe (if they have the requisite language skills). The framework for analysis will include questions as to when, how and why to compare constitutions, and an analysis of the vastly different constitutional arrangements that govern the relationship between the state, society and citizens across different jurisdictions.
Students can consider issues in Australian constitutional law or issues of more general interest outside of Australia. This might include:
- An issue currently in the Australian courts like proportionality doctrine, executive spending power, regulation of political campaigns.
- An issue of constitutional design of special relevance to Australia, including charters of rights, models of republican governance, constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples.
- An issue of current interest in other courts, including positive rights adjudication, same sex marriage law, freedom of religion.
- An issue of constitutional design in countries that are transitioning from authoritarian rule, crisis, or conflict/civil war.
Contemporary Constitutional Challenges in Australia
The Oxford Handbook of the Australian Constitution (OHAC) was published in 2018. In its Foreword, Sir Anthony Mason said:
‘The [OHAC] is a remarkable publication. It consists of forty four chapters, each written by leading constitutional lawyers. Collectively the chapters cover virtually every significant aspect of the Australian constitutional system. Each chapter is directed to a particular aspect of that system and, generally speaking, sets it in its historical, political, and conceptual context, identifies the problems which have arisen, and attempts to track its future development.’
This topic will allow students to investigate one of these problems and develop a solution to it.
The OHAC is organised in seven parts: foundations, constitutional domain, themes, practice and process, separation of powers, federalism, and rights. The seminars will provide a broad survey of these parts and their constituent chapters to assist students in identification of the range of contemporary constitutional challenges in Australia, understanding their significance and complexity, and selection of specific problems for investigation and resolution.
Corporate Regulation and Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility
Companies are the engine room of national and global economies but are also responsible for much social and environmental harm. Social and environmental harms caused by corporate activity include:
- Coal and oil companies' fueling of climate change,
- Tobacco and junk food companies’ responsibility for public health,
- "Slave" labour in food and clothing supply chains,
- Abuse of animals in the production of food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals,
- Plastic pollution and many more.
This topic provides the opportunity for students to consider how best to ensure corporate environmental and social responsibility and how to hold companies legally accountable when things go wrong.
This topic is particularly suitable for a case study approach in which students find a scandal or problem of corporate misconduct and suggest how to reform law and practice to solve the problem for the future. Students can choose a research project in any area of corporate social or environmental regulation and responsibility.
Students will be introduced to the major challenges of using law and regulatory enforcement to make corporations accountable and responsible, with a focus on theories about how legal enforcement, civil society activism and self-regulation can interact to help make corporations take responsibility for these issues themselves.
Initiatives aimed at ensuring business corporations respect international human rights and the United Nations’ sustainable development goals in addition to national level business regulation and self-regulation initiatives are suitable research topics.
Note: Students who wish to do a research project focused specifically on company law are advised to apply for Helen Anderson’s topic “Law Reform in Corporate Law”. Christine Parker’s topic is more suitable for those who wish to focus on a substantive social or environmental responsibilities of business corporations.
Government and Economic Inequality
This Legal Research topic investigates the role of government in addressing a key challenge of our time: economic inequality. The Australian government during the 20th century established highly effective systems of taxation, social security, public goods provision and market regulation that respond to political demands to share income and wealth.
However, the political and economic compact that enabled the expansion of these governmental systems to address inequality has faltered in recent decades, in the context of economic globalisation, fiscal austerity and neoliberal market approaches.
Growing technological, population and resource challenges threaten to increase economic inequality and to further reduce governmental capacity to address it. Still, there may be new opportunities to address economic inequality at national and global levels.
This Legal Research topic introduces students to different approaches of governments to address economic inequality and compare Australia’s approach to other countries. Topics considered range from universal basic income and provision of education and health, to progressive taxation, wage and migration regulation, social insurance and conditional relief for the poor.
The introductory seminars and readings will explore the following:
- How to define and measure economic inequality of income and wealth and whether inequality is increasing, or not; the relationship of inequality with poverty; and intersections of economic inequality with other dimensions including gender and race;
- Perspectives on economic inequality and the role of government from legal, public policy, philosophical and political literature to support critical analysis;
- Current law and public policy systems to address economic inequality, why and how do they work and their successes and failures;
- Can governments meet the challenge of economic inequality at national and international levels? Do we need a radical re-visioning of government to address inequality in future?
International Law and International Violence
This topic offers an introduction to the contemporary international legal framework regarding the use of force. It will discuss the ways the UN Charter and international customary law allocate rights and duties in regard to international violence, taking as a starting point contemporary events such as:
- The bombing of Syria by the US/UK/France in early 2018,
- Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014,
- The exercise of the international community’s ‘responsibility to protect’ in Libya in 2011 and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and
- Debates over the possibility of a ‘pre-emptive strike’ against North Korea or Iran.
Students will be encouraged to work on projects that tackle the question from doctrinal, theoretical or historical perspectives in accordance with their broader interests. Possible essay topics include:
- Case-studies that show the ways different actors used the language of international law to justify or contest a decision to go to war;
- Regional organisations, such as NATO or the African Union, and the use of force;
- The history and theory of international law and the use of force (feminist or third world approaches, examples of legal regulation of recourse to war that predate the UN Charter).
No prior knowledge of public international law is assumed or required.
Law Reform in Corporate Law
For their research projects, students will be asked to choose an instance of a corporate ‘problem’ that was or is presently subject to legislative reform over the past two decades and examine it. The focus of this topic is not only on the legal issue or social problem to be solved; students will also consider the process of reform and the eventual outcome.
- The protection of employee entitlements,
- Illegal phoenix activity,
- The safe harbour for insolvent trading,
- The change to the dividend rule,
- The tightening of shareholder rights to call company meetings, and
- The introduction of pooling for insolvent corporate groups.
Students are strongly advised to have undertaken Corporations Law (LAWS50035) before attempting this topic or be undertaking it concurrently.
Tax Advocacy and Reform (NEW TOPIC)
This Legal Research topic will provide students with the opportunity to advocate on behalf of groups of vulnerable taxpayers (individuals and small businesses) for administrative and/or legal reform. This topic is one component of the new Melbourne Law School (MLS) Tax Clinic, but students in this topic are not required to also undertake the Tax Clinic subject.
Students will be provided with a list of issues affecting groups of vulnerable taxpayers. They will be required to complete a research paper relating to one of the identified issues and propose administrative and/or legislative reform. Students in this Legal Research topic will have the opportunity to meet Australian Taxation Office (ATO) staff responsible for advising Treasury on tax reform. Students will also have the opportunity to present their research findings and proposals for reform to relevant ATO staff.
Students must have completed Taxation Law and Policy (LAWS50046) or have undertaken taxation studies in their undergraduate degree to enrol in this Legal Research topic.
This topic is limited to 8 students only.
The International Criminal Court: Holding Perpetrators of Serious International Crimes to Account
This topic will introduce students to the law and practice of the International Criminal Court (ICC) from the perspective of a former Australian Government lawyer who was responsible for Australia’s engagement with the ICC.
Students will learn about:
- The structure of the world’s first permanent international criminal court,
- The crimes it can investigate and prosecute,
- The limitations on the ICC’s jurisdiction,
- The process by which a matter is investigated and prosecuted, and
- The role of the ICC’s various stakeholders including victims, witnesses and defendants.
In considering these core features of the Court, students will be introduced to the ICC’s successes and shortcomings, as well as the future challenges faced by the Court.
Many different research topics will be available to be explored by students in their papers. A student may prefer to undertake a close legal analysis of one of the many provisions of the ICC’s Statute that remain unsettled (such as Article 8bis, which defines the new crime of aggression) or a recent decision of the Court.
For example, in the first half of 2019, the Appeals Chamber is expected to rule on Head of State immunity in relation to the nationals of non-States Parties – the issue that has been at the heart of tensions between the Court and certain African States.
Alternatively, a student could choose to assess the performance of the Court by examining an issue such as the high number of acquittals, the challenges encountered by the Office of the Prosecutor in prosecuting crimes of sexual violence, or the ICC’s role in ending cycles of violence.
Another option would be to focus on the legal-policy issues arising from contemporary events, such as the 2018 attack on the ICC by the Trump Administration. Assistance will be provided to help students identify a research topic in which they are interested, and hopefully passionate about!
Treason, Sedition, Heresy and Dissent – Political Trials in History
Students will research and write a paper on the continuing significance of an historically important prosecution and trial for ‘political crimes’ such as treason, sedition, rebellion, agitation, heresy, blasphemy and other forms of dissent.
After studying examples in this genre of legal history writing (which will include a selection of primary and secondary source materials that range across late medieval and early modern Europe, the French Revolution, 19th and 20th Century America, Britain and Australia, and post-colonial Asia) students will be assisted to select their own research topic.
Students who are already acquainted with historical research methods will be able to refine their skills. There is, however, no expectation of prior acquaintance with historical research methods, and students who are new to the study of history will be given guidance to develop an appropriate research methodology to fit their chosen topic.
The research paper should include at least two of the following three aspects (unless permission for a variation has been granted):
- Analysis of trial records and contemporaneous documentation such as reports in the mass media, pamphlets and other polemical materials;
- Examples of the way the chosen trial has been mythologised , i.e. subsequent treatment in both popular culture (eg film or literature) and within legal discourse; or
- Changing ‘serious’ or academic treatments and analysis by historians and legal scholars and how and why scholarly interpretations have changed over time.
Work: Liberty, Equality and Democracy
Many people spend much of their time in paid work. Yet, political and legal theorists have spent little or no time working on it. This topic is based on an assumption and a contention.
The assumption is that contemporary paid work tends to be a system of power in which workers are subject to substantial control by managers. The contention is that the relevant system of power raises moral questions whose nature and magnitude are similar to those raised by state power.
The introductory seminars will:
- Address the second contention by examining canonical liberal and republican texts as well as works aimed at testing or critiquing the limits of the canon;
- Consider how contemporary liberal legal systems typically address the power relations involved in paid work.
Research projects can allocate weight between (1) and (2) according to their authors’ interests.
Step 2: Confirm Topic Availability
|Semester 2, 2019 Topics||Coordinator|| Places available as of:|
05 Aug 2019 4:31pm
|Administrative Law at the Boundaries||Kristen Rundle||2|
|Comparative Constitutional Law||Will Partlett||8|
|Contemporary Constitutional Challenges in Australia||Michael Crommelin||14|
|Corporate Regulation and Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility||Christine Parker||0|
|Government and Economic Inequality||Miranda Stewart|
|International Law and International Violence||Ntina Tzouvala||4|
|Law Reform in Corporate Law||Helen Anderson||0|
|The International Criminal Court: Holding Perpetrators of Serious International Crimes to Account||Carrie McDougall||0|
|Tax Advocacy and Reform (NEW TOPIC)||Sunita Jogarajan||0|
|Treason, Sedition, Heresy and Dissent – Political Trials in History||Amanda Whiting||0|
|Work: Liberty, Equality & Democracy||Julian Sempill||7|
Step 3: Check Class Timetable
Confirm there are no timetabling clashes between your preferred Legal Research topic and your existing timetable.
Step 4: Apply
- Only submit an application for topics that have places available.
- For applications after Week 2 of teaching, students will need to obtain stream coordinator permission before applying for a stream.
- Applications are assessed in the order they are received.
- Submitting an application DOES NOT guarantee you a place in your preferred research topic.
- If you wish to change your topic preferences, please submit a new application to replace your previous application.
Outcomes for Applications
Outcomes will be provided within five business days. The MLS Academic Support Office will enrol successful applicants into Legal Research and register those students into their Legal Research topic, once class registration has commenced.
JD Elective Subjects (Enrichment opportunities)
Melbourne Law School offers a range of JD elective subjects that provide enrichment opportunities to students through public interest law clinics, legal internship, international opportunities, competing in the Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition and as editors of law journals, these subjects include:
- Public Interest Law Initiative
- Disability Human Rights Clinic
- International Criminal Justice Clinic (not available in 2019)
- Law Apps
- Legal Internship
- MLS Tax Clinic
- Public Interest Law Clinic
- Street Law
- Sustainability Business Clinic
- International subjects
- Economic and Business Law in Asia
- Global Lawyer
- Institutions in International Law
- Law and Legal Practice in Asia
- Center for Transnational Legal Studies
- Jessup Moot
- Melbourne Journal of International Law
- Melbourne University Law Review
- New Ideas in Legal Scholarship
How to apply
These JD elective subjects have a separate application process that students need to follow in order to apply. Details below:
|Center for Transnational Legal Studies (CTLS)||LAWS00011||To be advised||
Semester 2, 2019|
Semester 1, 2020
|Refer to the JD LMS Community|
|Disability Human Rights Clinic||LAWS90004||Anna Arstein-Kerslake||November||Refer to the JD LMS Community|
|Economic and Business Law in Asia||LAWS90037||Andrew Godwin||December||Refer to the JD LMS Community|
|Global Lawyer||LAWS50071||Tania Voon, |
Bruce Oswald and
|March||Refer to the JD LMS Community|
|Institutions in International Law||LAWS50045||Tania Voon, |
Bruce Oswald and
|March||Refer to the JD LMS Community|
|Jessup Moot||LAWS50042||To be advised||August||Applications to open in July/August|
|Law and Legal Practice in Asia||LAWS90006||Farrah Ahmed||February||Refer to the JD LMS Community|
|Law Apps||LAWS90033||Gary Cazalet||
|Refer to the JD LMS Community|
|Legal Internship||LAWS50059||Kate Fischer-Doherty||
|Refer to the JD LMS Community|
|Melbourne Journal of International Law (MJIL)||LAWS50060||To be advised||
|Apply via email to Coordinator|
|Melbourne University Law Review (MULR)||LAWS50058||To be advised||
|Apply via email to Coordinator|
|MLS Tax Clinic||LAWS90164||Sunita Jogarajan||Semester 2||Refer to the JD LMS Community|
|New Ideas in Legal Scholarship||LAWS50114||Lael Weis||Semester 2||Refer to the JD LMS Community|
|Public Interest Law Clinic||LAWS50116||Kate Fischer-Doherty||
|Refer to the JD LMS Community|
|Street Law||LAWS50102||Florence Seow||Semester 2||Refer to the JD LMS Community|
|Sustainability Business Clinic||LAWS50126||Brad Jessup||July||Refer to the JD LMS Community|
JD Elective Subjects
2019 JD Elective Selection Process
All JD elective subjects are quota restricted. The selection process for these subjects are completed in two rounds. In Round 1 students register interest in their preferred JD electives by enrolling during the application period. Once the application period has closed, the Melbourne Law School will assess all JD elective enrolments then advertise here which subjects:
- Still have places available (therefore all Round 1 applications are automatically approved), or
- Are full (and a random selection round will occur to confirm which students are approved to continue in the subject).
Students will be notified of any JD elective they were not successful enrolling in and will be withdrawn from those subjects after Round 1 outcomes are released.
Round 2 will commence after Round 1 outcomes are released and subject availability has been published. During Round 2 students can attempt to enrol into their intended elective at any time via their study plan. If a subject has met the enrolment quota, then students will not be able to enrol at that time.
However, as a space in a full subject could become available at any point, we encourage students to regularly attempt to enrol into their preferred JD quota electives. As a guide to assist you, this page will be updated each business day (between 3:30-5pm) to advertise which JD electives have met their quota and which subjects are accepting further enrolments. Waitlists are not maintained for JD elective subjects and the quota cannot be exceeded.
12.5 points of study required after this year
We recognise that there will be a small number of students who only have 12.5 points of study remaining in their degree by the end of this year. Students who have a clear and compelling need to complete their final subject in the early summer period of next year may make a written case, with appropriate supporting documentation, to the Assistant Dean – Teaching & Learning requesting priority enrolment in a summer subject. Students in this circumstance who have applied and have been approved to undertake a summer subject, will be contacted by the Academic Support Office regarding their enrolment. Students should note that, while we will accommodate requests for particular summer subjects where we can, priority enrolment in a particular summer subject is not guaranteed.
How to apply - Round 2 for 2019 Subjects
- Step 1: Review the subjects available via the list below to see if there are any available spaces.
- Step 2: Use the Handbook to verify that you meet subject prerequisites, and that there are no timetable clashes between your intended 2019 subjects.
- Step 3: Apply by enrolling on your study plan via my.unimelb.
Students can attempt enrolling at any time until the last date to self-enrol to see if a space has become available. Waitlists are not maintained, and the quota cannot be exceeded. The lists below are provided as a guide, and are updated once daily on business days between 3.30-5.00pm.
|Subject||Code||Coordinator(s)||Study Period||Spaces Available as of 04 Sep 2019 3:51pm|
|Disability Human Rights Clinic||LAWS90004||Anna Arstein-Kerslake||November||Email email@example.com to express your interest|
JD MLM Elective Subjects
JD students may apply to complete one Melbourne Law Masters (MLM) subject from an approved list as an elective during their course*.
All JD MLM electives are quota restricted and have a hurdle requirement of a minimum of 75% class attendance.
*Editors for Melbourne Journal of International Law or Melbourne University Law Review can complete a second MLM elective subject during the year of their editorship.
JD MLM elective selection process
The selection process for these subjects is completed in two rounds. In Round 1 students can apply for a JD MLM elective, listing up to two preferences, during the application period. The Melbourne Law School will then assess all JD MLM elective applications and complete a selection process. Outcomes are then provided via email for Round 1, and then Round 2 will commence.
In Round 2, students can apply for a JD MLM elective, listing up to two preferences. Requests are processed in the order they are received. Outcomes are then provided via email. Waitlists are maintained for JD MLM elective subjects that are at capacity.
How to apply - Round 2, 2019 subjects
- Step 1: Review the JD MLM elective subjects available via the Handbook.
- Step 2: Use the Handbook to verify that you meet subject prerequisites, and that there are no timetable clashes between your intended JD MLM elective and other 2019 subjects.
- Step 3: Apply - Submitting an application DOES NOT guarantee a place in the subject.