Faculty of Law

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedCity (Melbourne) Second semester 2013 (Day)



  1. Civil law: examines the involvement of psychiatrists and psychologists in assessing mental conditions for the purposes of guardianship and civil commitment legislation and in relation to consent to treatment
  2. Psychiatrists' and psychologists' involvement in the criminal law: assessments for the purposes of law relating to fitness to stand trial, insanity, automatism, infanticide and sentencing
  3. Evidentiary issues pertaining to psychiatrists and psychologists giving expert testimony in the courtroom.


Upon successful completion of the unit students should possess a sophisticated understanding of:

  1. the ways in which psychiatrists and psychologists may become involved in the civil law system
  2. the ways in which the criminal law takes into account mental impairment
  3. when and why psychologists and psychiatrists may be called to give evidence in the civil and criminal courts
  4. concepts of dangerousness in the court system.

Students should also have improved their ability to:

a. engage in the theoretical analysis of policy and legal issues relating to the interplay between psychiatry, psychology and law

b. confidently participate in argument in the context of an interactive seminar

c. engage in research

d. clearly and persuasively present ideas and arguments in written form.


Research assignment (3000 words): 40%
Class participation: 10%
Take home examination (3750 words): 50%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

One 2-hour seminar per week