Global Governance

Subject LAWS90063 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

August, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start 11-Jul-2016
Teaching Period 08-Aug-2016 to 12-Aug-2016
Assessment Period End 09-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 30-Jun-2016
Census Date 08-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 30-Sep-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.


Melbourne Law Masters Students: None

JD Students: 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.


Assoc Prof Margaret Young



Associate Professor Margaret Young (Coordinator)
Dr Andrew Lang

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

The multiplication of new sites, techniques and modalities of international law demands new maps of how, where, and why international legality is made, and how it affects the world. This subject asks students to engage theoretically with some contemporary thinking about the structures of global governance, through readings drawn from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, science and technology studies, politics and law. This theoretical material is set side by side with, and explored through, a series of four grounded case studies, drawn from issue areas of contemporary concern such as global finance, climate change, trade, tobacco control, biotechnology and development. The subject will be primarily organised around questions of fragmentation and expertise. ‘Fragmentation’ in this context refers to the proliferation of sites of global governance: we will be interested in the causes of this phenomenon, as well as the challenges to which it gives rise. The theme of ‘expertise’ signals an interest in processes of knowledge production in international regimes, including contemporary re-articulations of the power-knowledge nexus.

There will be four case studies addressed in the subject, the content of which may change from year to year. Illustrative topics include the global dimensions of:

  • the regulation of biotech foods
  • currency manipulation
  • tobacco control
  • regulation of transactions in derivatives
  • the industrial policy of climate change
  • global fisheries management
  • foreign investment in agriculture and infrastructure services

The theoretical writing will be organised around four themes, which may include some of:

  • global constitutionalism
  • empire
  • sociotechnical imaginaries
  • reflexivity
  • regime interaction
  • expertise
  • global administrative law
  • new governance

The law and institutions covered in the subject will depend on the case studies chosen. However, students can expect a significant part of the subject to focus on such institutions as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Food and Agricultural Organization, the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, the World Health Organization, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, and their related bodies of law.

Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed the subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the principal legal methods and techniques that deal with the fragmentation of international law
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess contemporary thinking about the structures of global governance from disciplines such as sociology, science and technology studies, politics and law
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding expertise and the profession of international law
  • Have a sophisticated understanding of sociological accounts of the origins of fragmentation, and provide an account of challenges to which fragmentation gives rise such as forum shopping
  • Have an advanced understanding of four specific areas of global governance, including a detailed understanding of the relevant governance institutions, the governing legal frameworks, the most important techniques of governance, and the core gaps in our knowledge of how they operate
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse specific theorists and theories of contemporary global governance
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding global governance to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and leaner in the field of global governance, and to ground a critical response to theoretical accounts of global governance, at both the positive and normative levels.
  • In-class presentation and 1,000–1,500 word written presentation (25%) (31 August)
  • 7,500 word research paper (75%) (9 November) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator
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 Environmental Law
Graduate Diploma in International Economic Law
Graduate Diploma in International Law
Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Juris Doctor
Master of Environmental Law
Master of Law and Development
Master of Laws
Master of Public and International Law

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