Construction Law

Subject LAWS70176 (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:

February, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 27-Jan-2016
Teaching Period 24-Feb-2016 to 01-Mar-2016
Assessment Period End 25-May-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 14-Dec-2015
Census Date 24-Feb-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 15-Apr-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.


This subject is recommended as an initial construction law subject for students who have a law degree.

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:

Students who have completed any of the below subjects are not permitted to take LAWS70176 Construction Law:

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.


Mr Peter Williams, Mr Phillip Greenham



Mr Phillip Greenham (Coordinator)
Associate Professor Peter Williams (Coordinator)
Mr Trevor Thomas

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

In order to provide valuable advice to clients in the construction industry, lawyers need an integrated understanding of the legal and technical aspects of this specialised area of practice. This subject is designed to build such an understanding and to expose students to a wide range of construction law-related topics in an interdisciplinary mode. Students will learn about the key legal principles which are specific to construction law (from project inception through to dispute avoidance and resolution) and their interaction with the technical underpinnings of construction practice. In addition to classroom discussion, students have the opportunity to see principles put into practice through construction site visits and detailed case studies.

The subject lecturers bring to the classroom a combined, multi-disciplinary experience of decades in advising clients in the construction industry.

A range of topics is covered in an interdisciplinary mode, integrating a detailed case study and site visit. Such topics may include:

  • Setting up the project: delivery methods, standard forms, subcontracting, costing, risk mitigation (including insurance and performance security)
  • Key technical principles: construction technology, engineering services, structures, geotechnical (including the legal treatment of latent conditions), sustainability and building information modelling
  • During the project: contract administration, time and programming, payment, variations, major plant deployment, cost control, dispute avoidance and resolution.
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 practice as a lawyer in the construction industry
  • Be familiar with, be able to critically reflect on, and be confident in working across, the interaction points between the technical, commercial and legal aspects of construction procurement
  • Be able to demonstrate the research and communication skills required to independently investigate, examine and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to construction projects.
  • Take-home examination (5,000-6,000 words as specified in the subject reading guide) (100%) (8 - 11 April)
  • 10,000 word research paper (100%) (25 May) 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 Construction Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Master of Commercial Law
Master of Construction Law
Master of Laws

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