Privacy Law

Subject LAWS70082 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2013:

April, 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
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
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: None
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 and critique 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 to 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.

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

Privacy has been valued for centuries but currently there is a resurgent interest in its protection, as a result of new technologies, changing social norms – including new human rights discourses – and markets, including media markets that are increasingly focused on the commodity value of information. Overlapping with the resurgent interest in privacy is a related concern with the management of data flows, which may be as significant to government and business activities as the privacy of individuals. The legal frameworks that deal with privacy and data protection have a long history but are coming under pressure to adapt to a more complex modern environment.

Privacy and data protection experts Professor Megan Richardson and Ms Karin Clark explore these and related issues, placing a particular emphasis on the justifications for privacy protection, justified limits and exceptions to protection, and the practical operation of privacy and data protection laws in Australia and comparable jurisdictions.

Principal topics will include:

  • What is privacy? Conceptual and legal definitional issues
  • International and comparative privacy and data protection regimes
  • Protection of privacy at general law in Australia and comparable jurisdictions
  • The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the regulation of personal information held by the private and public sectors
  • State/territory (especially Victorian) legislative regimes for the regulation of personal information
  • Current topics in privacy law such as privacy and the media, privacy and health information (including genetic information), online privacy (including anti-spam laws), telecommunications and surveillance privacy
  • Current reform proposals and likely reforms.

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Understand the evolving body of Australian law that recognises and protects ‘privacy’
  • Be able to evaluate Australia’s privacy law regime, drawing on relevant sources of law, as well as commentaries and critiques
  • Have a good understanding of the legal and policy issues involved with the protection of privacy at general law
  • Have a good understanding of the Commonwealth and state regimes for regulating information privacy and data protection
  • Be able to demonstrate an awareness of the broader context, involving discussion of policy issues, current debates, and trends and law reform in Australia and overseas.

Class participation (10%)

Take-home examination (90%) (24–27 May)


8,000 word research paper (90%) (1 July) 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:

Download PDF version.