Hate Speech

Subject LAWS70390 (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:

November, 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/


Prof Adrienne Stone


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:

The phenomenon of ‘hate speech’ is widely recognised in both international law and national legislation. Yet despite decades of anti-hate speech law and policy, the problem persists. From riots targeting asylum seekers in Britain to the vilification that accompanied the riots at Sydney‘s Cronulla beach in 2005, hate speech appears to be an ongoing problem in liberal democratic states. In this subject, two internationally recognised experts in freedom of speech and the regulation of hate speech will provide students with an opportunity to tackle the complexities of the regulation of hate speech.

Principal topics will include:

  • Normative arguments for the regulation of hate speech
  • An understanding of the international law on hate speech and how it is balanced with the norm of preservation of free speech
  • The different approaches to legal regulation of hate speech that exist around the world
  • Difficult case studies, to argue whether – and if so, how and to what extent – such speech should be regulated. The case studies include religious vilification, holocaust denial, cross-burning and recent Australian cases (including the Andrew Bolt case).

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Understand why arguments persist to regulate hate speech
  • Be able to elucidate how and why/why not the regulation of hate speech is consistent with international norms aimed at preserving free speech
  • Explain a variety of approaches to the legal regulation of hate speech
  • Formulate coherent arguments concerning the appropriate regulatory response to particular instances of hate speech.

Take-home examination (100%) (12 pm 18 January to 5 pm 21 January 2013)

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/5193

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