Principles of Construction Law

Subject LAWS70314 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

February, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 21-Jan-2015
Teaching Period 18-Feb-2015 to 24-Feb-2015
Assessment Period End 30-Mar-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 26-Jan-2015
Census Date 18-Feb-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-Mar-2015

August, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 08-Jul-2015
Teaching Period 05-Aug-2015 to 11-Aug-2015
Assessment Period End 14-Sep-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 03-Jul-2015
Census Date 05-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 21-Aug-2015

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:

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.


This subject is:

  • Recommended as an initial construction law subject for students who do not have a law degree
  • Not available to students who have undertaken LAWS70176/LAWS70469/LAWS50084/BLAW40001 Construction Law
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:


Mr Matthew Bell


For more information:

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

This subject is designed for construction law students without prior legal training (LAWS70176 Construction Law is for students who have a law degree). It provides an overview of the broad spread of the construction law curriculum, from the statutory and common law landscape, through legal aspects of project procurement and contracting to dispute avoidance and resolution options. This subject also provides detailed treatment of legal issues specific to construction law.

Principal topics include:

  • Overview of the regulatory regime for construction contracting
  • Causes of action in construction disputes
  • Contracting methodologies
  • Contract administration: standard forms of contract, tendering and contract preparation and minimising legal exposure
  • Role and liability of superintendents
  • Issues relating to sub-contracts
  • Variations, defective work and latent conditions
  • Time, programming and liquidated damages
  • Contractual mechanisms for payment and security of payment legislation
  • Security for performance
  • Insurance
  • Dispute avoidance procedures and alternative dispute resolution
  • Construction litigation and arbitration (domestic and international).
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding, in an inter-disciplinary context, of the role and function of law in relation to construction projects
  • Have enhanced their expert and specialised cognitive and technical skills required to practise as a professional engaged with legal aspects of the construction industry
  • Be familiar with, be able to critically reflect on, and be confident in working across, the interaction between the technical, commercial and legal aspects of construction procurement
  • Be able to demonstrate the analytical and communication skills required to independently investigate, examine and synthesise existing and emerging legal issues relating to construction projects.
  • Take-home examination (100%)

    • Semester 1: 27-30 March
    • Semester 2: 11-14 September

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement for students commencing this subject in August.

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:

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation

Download PDF version.