Employment Contract Law

Subject LAWS70200 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

May, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
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: www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


For more information, contact the Melbourne Law Masters office.

Email law-masters@unimelb.edu.au or phone +61 3 8344 6190.

Alternatively, visit our website:


Subject Overview:

Employment contracts have been a major source of litigation in recent years, with some cases leading to payouts amounting to millions of dollars. This subject examines the evolving law of employment contracts, and other related kinds of personal work contracts. Drawing on recent cases as well as leading articles by Australian and international scholars, the lecturers consider several key questions. These include determining and varying contract terms, employer and employee duties, non-compete clauses, termination and damages. The subject also looks at the interaction between employment contracts and major statutes, such as the Australian Consumer Law and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). The subject seeks to combine discussions of the practical realities of contracting with a broader analysis of the underlying assumptions in current law.

Principal topics will include:

  • The scope of employment regulation: Which work relationships are covered?
  • The regulation of independent contracting, such as agency relationships
  • The content of the employment contract: Express terms
  • The content of the employment contract: Implied terms and incorporation of employer policy manuals
  • Employment, the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) and estoppel
  • Variation and flexibility in the employment contract
  • Termination at common law
  • The relationship between contracts, awards and agreements
  • Statutory remedies for termination of employment.

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Be able to apply, at an advanced level, relevant legal principles to the individual employment relationship in problem-solving exercises
  • Be able to analyse emerging and contemporary issues in employment contract law and scholarship, including issues such as recruitment; non-compete obligations; the interaction between express and implied contractual terms; the relationship between policies and employment contracts and the relationship between federal legislation (the Fair Work Act and the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)) and employment contracts
  • Be able to evaluate aspects of Australian employment law drawing on scholary and policy-oriented writing from Australia and overseas
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the development of Australian employment contract law in an international context.

Take-home examination (100%) (12 pm 28 June to 5 pm 2 July)


10,000 word research paper (100%) (13 August) 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: http://www.law.unimelb.edu.au/masters/courses-and-subjects/subject-details/sid/5174

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