Legal Research

Subject LAWS50039 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Entry into a research topic for this subject is application based. Each research topic has a quota of 15 students. Information about the application process to apply for a legal research topic can be found here.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Up to 4 hours per week
Total Time Commitment:

144 hours


Successful completion of all the below subjects:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
November, Semester 2
Semester 1
Semester 1
Semester 2
Semester 2
Semester 1
Semester 2
Semester 1
Semester 1
Semester 2

Some research topics may require students to have completed, or have a concurrent enrolment in, the below subject:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 2
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law School welcomes applications from students with disabilities. It is University and Law School policy to take all reasonable steps to enable the participation of students with disabilities, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the School's programs.

The inherent academic requirements for the study in the Melbourne Law School are:

  • The ability to attend classes and actively engage in the analysis 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 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 must possess behavioural and social attributes that enable them to participate in a complex learning environment. Students are required to take responsibility for their own participation and learning. They also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative learning environments, demonstrating interpersonal skills and an understanding of the needs of other students. Assessment may include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.


Prof Jennifer Morgan


Phone: +61 3 8344 4475

Subject Overview:

This subject is a core element of the JD degree. It provides students in their final year with a capstone supervised research experience. It does so through supervised research seminars or structured projects, generally offered in a small group setting. Students will have the opportunity to work closely with a member of the academic staff in pursuing a particular research interest. In each semester, a range of seminars and projects will be offered. Some may have special entry requirements and enrolment limits. Each seminar or project will include a research skills component and seminar or project-based supervision on a legal issue.

Learning Outcomes:

The subject involves study of a selected area of law at an advanced level; the subject requires the student to engage in self-directed research, under the supervision of a member of staff with expertise in the student's field of inquiry, and/or the methodology they have chosen to use. Students who successfully complete this subject will have demonstrated:

  • Creativity and originality in identifying, framing and developing their own sophisticated and relevant research question;
  • A rigorous and effective methodological approach to planning, researching and executing a substantial and innovative research-based project;
  • A deep and integrated knowledge and understanding of the research project area including its connection with its broader contexts;
  • Sophisticated interpretation and integration of relevant material from a full range of primary and secondary sources;
  • Critical analysis and argument that demonstrates substantial originality, creativity and insight into the research subject area;
  • A capacity to communicate the research thesis clearly, persuasively and succinctly in an oral presentation;
  • A capacity to reflect upon and engage with feedback from an oral presentation of their research thesis and other feedback from the supervisor;
  • Sophisticated, appropriate, effective and persuasive written communication skills, demonstrated in developing, structuring, editing, presenting and referencing relevant analysis, argument and conclusions on the research project, in a format appropriate for publication; and
  • A high level of personal autonomy and accountability in developing and executing the substantial research project.
  • Class or project participation evidenced by oral presentation (hurdle);
  • 8,000-word written research work project or equivalent (100%).

The due date of the above assessment will be available to students via the LMS.

Prescribed Texts:

All required reading will be available online via the LMS.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject, students should have demonstrated the following skills:

  • Ability to develop and frame a sophisticated legal research question;
  • Employing complex research methodologies well-suited to answering the research question;
  • Ability to identify and critically analyse a diverse range of pertinent and complex materials;
  • Capacity for advanced critical and independent thought and reflection;
  • Capacity to communicate the research results, clearly, comprehensively and persuasively.

Related Course(s): Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration

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