Australians Detained Abroad

Subject LAWS70407 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

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

This subject is not offered in 2013.

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:

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at least two Australians per day are arrested in an overseas country in relation to alleged offences. Many of those arrested are subsequently detained and their detention poses challenges for the provision of consular assistance and for effective legal representation. This course considers the international legal obligations of detaining States to allow consular access to foreign detainees and the role Australian authorities regularly play. The course will also expose some of the challenges of coordinating legal representation both in Australia and in the detaining country. This course is unique in Australia and the lecturers will draw on their extensive practical experience and their academic scholarship to ensure the material presented is relevant, topical and cutting-edge.

Principal topics will include:

  • Alternative bases for the exercise of national criminal jurisdiction
  • Privileges and immunities
  • Consular assistance and the law of consular relations
  • Australia’s national approach to the provision of consular assistance
  • The appointment of legal counsel in the detaining State and in Australia
  • Case studies of selected Australians detained abroad.

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Be conversant with the obligations of detaining States pursuant to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 and customary international law;
  • Be familiar with the International Court of Justice’s jurisprudence on the international law of consular relations;
  • Understand the Australian Government’s approach to the provision of consular assistance and the policy factors that influence different levels of assistance;
  • Appreciate some of the challenges involved in co-ordinating legal representation both in Australia and in the detaining country;

Take-home examination (100%) (30 August–3 September)
10,000 word research paper (100%) (23 October) 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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