Global Governance

Subject LAWS70449 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

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

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment: Not available

A sound understanding of public international law is advised.

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:

The multiplication of new sites, techniques and modalities of international law demands new maps of how, where, and why international legality is made, and how it affects the world. This subject asks students to engage theoretically with some contemporary thinking about the structures of global governance, through readings drawn from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, science and technology studies, politics and law. This theoretical material is set side by side with, and explored through, a series of four grounded case studies, drawn from issue areas of contemporary concern such as global finance, climate change, trade, tobacco control, biotechnology and development. This subject will be primarily organised around questions of fragmentation and expertise. ‘Fragmentation’ in this context refers to the proliferation of sites of global governance: the subject will be interested in the causes of this phenomenon, as well as the challenges to which it gives rise.

There will be four case studies addressed in the subject, the content of which may change from year to year. Illustrative topics include the global dimensions of:

  • The regulation of biotech foods
  • Currency manipulation
  • Tobacco control
  • Regulation of transactions in derivatives
  • The industrial policy of climate change
  • Global fisheries management
  • Foreign investment in agriculture and infrastructure services.

The theoretical writing will be organised around four themes, which may include some of:

  • Constitutionalism
  • Empire
  • Sociotechnical imaginaries
  • Reflexivity
  • Regime interaction
  • Expertise
  • Global administrative law
  • New governance.

The law and institutions that are covered in the subject will depend on the case studies chosen. However, students can expect a significant part of the subject to focus on such institutions as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Food and Agricultural Organization, the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, the World Health Organization, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and their related bodies of law.

Learning Outcomes:

A candidate who has successfully completed the subject should:

  • describe and critically assess sociological accounts of the origins of fragmentation, and provide an account of challenges to which fragmentation gives rise;
  • for each case study covered, identify the relevant governance institutions, and the governing legal frameworks, the most important techniques of governance, and the core gaps in our knowledge of how they operate;
  • describe and comparatively assess four theorists/theories of contemporary global governance; and
  • demonstrate an ability to use the material covered in the case studies to ground a critical response to theoretical accounts of global governance, at both the positive and normative levels.
  • In-class presentation and 1,000–1,500 word written presentation (25%) (23 April)
  • 7,500 word research paper (75%) (18 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. Details regarding any prescribed texts will be provided prior to the commencement of the 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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