Australians Detained Abroad

Subject LAWS70407 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

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

This subject is not offered in 2016.

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.

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 the Disability Liaison Unit:


For more information:

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, at least two Australians per day are arrested in an overseas country in relation to alleged offences. Many of those arrested are subsequently detained and their detention poses challenges related to consular assistance and for effective legal representation. This subject considers the international legal obligations of detaining States to allow consular access to foreign detainees and the role Australian authorities regularly play. It will also expose some of the challenges of coordinating legal representation both in Australia and in the detaining country. This subject is unique in Australia and the lecturers will draw on their extensive practical experience and their academic scholarship to present relevant, topical and cutting-edge material.

Principal topics include:

  • Alternative bases for the exercise of national criminal jurisdiction
  • Privileges and immunities
  • Consular assistance and the law of consular relations
  • Australia’s national approach to the provision of consular assistance
  • The appointment of legal counsel in the detaining State and in Australia
  • Case studies of selected Australians detained abroad.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Be conversant with the obligations of detaining states pursuant to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 and customary international law
  • Be familiar with the International Court of Justice’s jurisprudence on the international law of consular relations
  • Understand the Australian Government’s approach to the provision of consular assistance and the policy factors that influence different levels of assistance
  • Appreciate some of the challenges involved in co-ordinating legal representation both in Australia and in the detaining country.
  • Take-home examination (100%) (27-30 March)
  • 10,000 word research paper (100%) (13 May) 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. Visit the Melbourne Law Masters website for more information about this 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 Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Government Law
Graduate Diploma in International Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Master of Laws
Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Administration (Enhanced)
Master of Public and International Law

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