Graduate Diploma in Government Law

Course 178AA (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Year and Campus: 2012 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 075330F
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 50 credit points taken over 6 months full time. This course is available as full or part time.


Professor Cheryl Saunders


For more information, contact the Melbourne Law Masters office.

Email or phone +61 3 8344 6190.

Alternatively, visit our website:

Course Overview:

The graduate program in government law offers specialist knowledge and skills in this critical and dynamic branch of law. The program is directly relevant to those working for or dealing with government, and has considerable appeal to anyone with an interest in public affairs, in Australia or internationally. A wide range of subjects examine all aspects of the operations of government and the relationship between people and the institutions of the state. The program offers an unparalleled opportunity to compare different approaches to governance in countries around the world, adding to the international and comparative character of the experience.


The Graduate Diploma in Government Law focuses on:

  • The legal and institutional framework for Australian government in theory and practice
  • An analysis and resolution of the complex problems of government law
  • A range of alternative approaches to government law in other countries and systems and the methodology of comparative public law
  • The context within which government law operates and the sensitivities peculiar to it
  • Advanced communication, both written and oral, in relation to government law.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

Students must complete four subjects from the prescribed list.

Students who do not have a law degree from a common law jurisdiction or any prior legal studies or experience are also expected to complete the two-day preliminary subject Australian Legal Process and Legal Institutions.




Subject Options:

# Offered in 2012

  • Australian Charters of Rights
  • Bills of Rights: An International Perspective
  • Climate Change Law #
  • Constitution Making #
  • Constitutional Law in Practice (Formerly Constitutional Litigation) #
  • Current Issues in Administrative Law #
  • Energy Regulation and the Law (Formerly Regulation and the Law) #
  • Environmental Law (formerly Environmental Law: Science and Regulation)
  • Environmental Rights #
  • Evolving Constitutionalism in Asia
  • Food and Drug Law
  • Free Speech, Contempt and the Media
  • Freedom of Information (formerly Regulating Access to Public Information) #
  • Gambling, Policy and the Law #
  • Hate Speech #
  • Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples
  • Human Rights and Terrorism #
  • Human Rights Beyond Borders
  • Human Rights Litigation and Advocacy #
  • International Dispute Settlement #
  • International Law and Childrenā€˜s Rights #
  • International Migration Law #
  • International Refugee Law: Refugee Rights #
  • International Refugee Law: Refugee Status
  • Labour Standards under the Fair Work Act (Cth) (Formerly Regulating Working Conditions) #
  • Latin American Constitutionalisms #
  • Law of Democracy #
  • Law of Intergovernmental Relations
  • Law of Royal Commissions and other Public Inquiries (Formerly Law of Public Inquiries) #
  • Planning Law
  • Post-Conflict Constitutional Design
  • Privacy Law (Formerly Privacy and Data Protection) #
  • Public Health Law (formerly Public Health Law in Australia and the Pacific)
  • Racing Industry Law and Regulation
  • Religion and Multiculturalism
  • Statutes in the 21st Century #
  • Sustainability Law and Governance
  • Tax Policy
  • Water Law and Natural Resources Management (Formerly Water Law) #
  • What is it that Judges Do?
Entry Requirements:
  • A degree in a relevant discipline and the equivalent of at least one year of full-time, documented, relevant professional experience; or
  • A degree in law leading to admission to legal practice (LLB, JD or equivalent), at honours standard or equivalent; or
  • A degree in law leading to admission to legal practice (LLB, JD or equivalent) and the equivalent of at least one year of full-time, documented, relevant professional experience.
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit:

Graduate Attributes:
  1. Advanced understanding of the changing knowledge base in the relevant area of law
    The specialist focus of the Melbourne Law Masters, the constant review and renewal of subjects and courses, the range and expertise of instructors from Australia and around the world, and regular advice from our advisory boards combine to ensure that courses and subjects reflect emerging knowledge and ideas
  2. Ability to evaluate and synthesise existing knowledge in the area
    Small classes, a discussion-based environment and the emphasis on quality teaching and learning create an environment in which knowledge is exchanged, critically examined and adapted to current circumstances
  3. Well-developed problem solving abilities, characterised by flexibility of approach
    Most subjects approach knowledge by reference to various issues or problems. Students are encouraged to critically analyse problems and identify and develop a range of appropriate solutions through class discussion, individual study and assessment tasks.
  4. Advanced competencies in legal research and analysis
    Class preparation and class discussions are designed to enhance these skills, which are tested in all forms of assessment.
  5. Capacity to communicate, orally and in writing
    Classroom discussion and formal presentations provide an opportunity to hone oral communication skills, and written assessment tasks are graded in part on written communication skills.
  6. Appreciation of the design, conduct and reporting of original research
    Research papers and other research tasks are expected to attain a degree of originality and discovery that befits a quality postgraduate program, and students are encouraged and assisted to publish work of a high standard in refereed journals.
  7. Capacity to manage competing demands on time
    The demanding nature of graduate study requires effective time-management skills from all students. The rigour of our programs, whether undertaken part-time or full-time, ensures that all successful graduates have enhanced time-management skills.
  8. Profound respect for truth and intellectual integrity, including the ethics of scholarship
    Some subjects have a substantive ethical component. All instructors have a respect for intellectual integrity and are skilled scholars or practitioners in their own right.
  9. Appreciation of the way in which knowledge provides a foundation for leadership
    Instructors in the Melbourne Law Masters are leaders in their fields, and many subjects involve visiting academics, exposing students to a wider array of leaders in a range of legal fields. The Law School is committed to the significance of knowledge, which informs all regular programs and a wide range of additional activities.
  10. Capacity to value and participate in teamwork
    Small class sizes and an intensive teaching format are valuable in encouraging group dynamics and teamwork.
  11. Understanding of the significance and value of knowledge to the wider community
    Law and legal knowledge are a community resource. In some subjects, this perspective is covered explicitly by the syllabus and the manner in which issues are treated in class. In addition, our diverse student body ensures that a range of perspectives on the way law impacts on the community are identified and analysed.
  12. Capacity to engage with issues in contemporary society
    Our programs focus on the most up-to-date legal knowledge, analysing current issues and problems through the curriculum design, classroom discussion and assessment tasks. International students are also invited to participate in extracurricular activities to aid understanding of Australian law and legal institutions.
  13. Advanced working skills in the use of new technology
    The most advanced IT infrastructure is available to Melbourne Law Masters students in the Law Library, the Moot Court Room, classroom settings and for private study.
Links to further information:

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