Not-for-Profit Organisations

Subject LAWS70191 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2012.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment: Not available




Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects:


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:


For more information, contact the Melbourne Law Masters office.

Email or phone +61 3 8344 6190.

Alternatively, visit our website:

Subject Overview:

Australia‘s not-for-profit sector contributes more than $43 billion to our economy every year and it is growing. The regulatory framework that underpins this socially and economically significant sector is fragmented and complex. There are different and additional stakeholders, legal structures and regulators compared with the business sector. There have been multiple government and independent inquiries in the last decade and a new Commonwealth regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, is to commence on 1 July 2012. The subject explores current issues in what is a growing and specialist area of legal and accounting practice.

Principal topics will include:

  • Definitional complexity concerning not-for-profit organisations, including charities
  • Sector composition: Size, purpose, diversity
  • Range of available legal structures: Why each legal structure is used and the consequences of choosing a particular structure
  • Governance issues: Director and management committee duties, including contrast with business context
  • Overview of the tax rules for not-for-profit organisations
  • Recent and forthcoming changes in the regulatory framework, including the commencement of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (due 1 July 2012) in the context of key policy objectives and major inquiries (1995, 2001 and 2008–2010).

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Have a good understanding of the role and diversity of the not-for-profit sector as a third sector in the Australian economy
  • Have a sound understanding of the existing regulatory framework for not-for-profit organisations, particularly their legal structures
  • Have an appreciation of unique challenges facing those who govern not-for-profit organisations, compared with for-profit organisations
  • Have a good understanding of the regulatory challenges for the not-for-profit sector, including the policy elements for a better regulatory environment that supports both accountability and innovation by the sector.

Class presentation (20%)

Take-home examination (80%) (12 pm 14 September to 5 pm 17 September)


8,000 word research paper (80%) (1 November) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

Prescribed Texts:

Core subject materials will be provided free of charge to all students. Some subjects require further texts to be purchased. Visit the Melbourne Law Masters website for more information about this subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:

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