Privacy Law

Subject LAWS70082 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

April, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 07-Mar-2016
Teaching Period 04-Apr-2016 to 08-Apr-2016
Assessment Period End 04-Jul-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 14-Dec-2015
Census Date 04-Apr-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 27-May-2016

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

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24-26 hours
Total Time Commitment:

136-150 hours

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.

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 Student Equity and Disability Support.


Mrs Karin Clark



Ms Karin Clark (Coordinator)
Professor Megan Richardson

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

Privacy has been valued for centuries but currently there is a resurgent interest in its protection, as a result of new technologies, changing social norms—including new human rights discourses—and markets, including media markets that are increasingly focused on the commodity value of information. Overlapping with the resurgent interest in privacy is a related concern with the management of data flows, which may be as significant to government and business activities as the privacy of individuals. The legal frameworks that deal with privacy and data protection have a long history but are coming under pressure to adapt to a more complex modern environment.

Privacy and data protection experts Professor Megan Richardson and Karin Clark explore these and related issues, placing a particular emphasis on the justifications for privacy protection, justified limits and exceptions to protection, and the practical operation of privacy and data protection laws in Australia and comparable jurisdictions.

Principal topics include:

  • What is privacy?
  • Conceptual and legal definitional issues
  • International and comparative privacy and data protection regimes
  • Protection of privacy at general law in Australia and comparable jurisdictions
  • The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth): regulation of personal information held by the private and public sectors
  • State/Territory (especially Victorian) legislative regimes for the regulation of personal information
  • Current topics in privacy law such as privacy and the media, privacy and health information, online privacy (including anti-spam laws), telecommunications and surveillance privacy
  • Current reform inquiries and proposals and likely reforms.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of key principles of privacy law in Australia and comparable jurisdictions
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal principles
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to privacy law
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the factors and processes driving law reform
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas, and to critically evaluate existing legal theories, principles and concepts with creativity and autonomy
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding privacy law to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of privacy law.
  • Class participation (10%)
  • Take-home examination (5,000-6,000 words as specified in the subject reading guide) (90%) (20 - 23 May)
  • 8,000 word research paper (90%) (4 July) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Prescribed Texts:

Specialist printed materials will be made available free of charge from the Melbourne Law School prior to the pre-teaching period.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Communications Law
Graduate Diploma in Government Law
Graduate Diploma in Health and Medical Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Master of Commercial Law
Master of Health and Medical Law
Master of Laws
Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Administration (Enhanced)
Master of Public and International Law

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