Current Issues in Negligence

Subject LAWS70229 (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:

March, 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:

Negligence is one of the most heavily litigated causes of action in common law jurisdictions. It is of enormous practical importance in a very wide range of fact situations. It is also a dynamic area of law: the relevant principles are constantly being applied to new fact situations, and the courts are regularly forced to grapple with difficult questions about the scope of negligence liability. This subject examines key current issues and controversies in the law of negligence in the light of theoretical and comparative perspectives. The lecturers have both published widely on private law topics, including a range of issues in the law of negligence.

Principal topics will include:

  • An overview of the law of negligence, including theoretical and historical perspectives and the place of negligence in tort law and private law
  • The duty of care requirement in general terms, including the distinction between duty in law and duty in fact, the approach to the duty question in novel situations and the role of public policy in duty decisions
  • Liability for psychiatric injury
  • Liability for pure economic loss
  • Liability for omissions and the liability of public authorities
  • Current issues in the standard of care and its application, with particular reference to professional negligence cases
  • The requirement of damage
  • Factual causation, including the relevance of statistical evidence and recovery for loss of a chance
  • Legal causation, including liability for the criminal wrongdoing of third parties
  • Remoteness/scope of liability defences.

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Be aware of developments in relation to the principles of negligence law in the High Court of Australia and in the highest courts of comparable common law countries
  • Have considered the theories under which development of the law of negligence occurs
  • Have considered the application of the theories in a range of novel situations that have recently come before the courts in Australia
  • Have considered recent statutory reform of negligence law in Australia.

10,000 word research paper (100%) (19 June) 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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