Faculty of Law

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 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

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedCity (Melbourne) Second semester 2014 (On-campus block of classes)


Quota applies

Postgraduate programs are based on a model of small group teaching and therefore class sizes need to be restricted.


The unit provides a comprehensive and critical examination of current issues relating to laws which affect public information in the possession of, or generated by, the federal and Victorian governments (including statutory authorities and municipalities). Topics covered include statutory requirements to provide reasons for decisions, public access to hearings and meetings, freedom of information, breach of confidence, public interest immunity, legal professional privilege, Crown copyright, statutory secrecy provisions and privacy.


On completion of this unit students should:

  1. understand the close interrelationship of the diverse laws which regulate or affect public access to government information
  2. have acquired a comprehensive and up-do-date knowledge of the Commonwealth and Victorian Freedom of Information Acts, of the statutory provisions which require provision of written reasons and of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
  3. have extended their basic understanding and knowledge of the legal principles and rules relating to evidentiary privilege and breach of confidence
  4. be able to critically analyse from a variety of theoretical perspectives the ways in which these various laws balance competing public and private interests involved
  5. demonstrate a capacity to conduct systematic research on some specific topic of Government and information law
  6. have an appreciation of contemporary issues of relevance to this area of law.


Research assignment (5,250 words): 70%:
Take-home examination (2,250 words): 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

24 contact hours per semester (either intensive, semi-intensive or semester long, depending on the Faculty resources, timetabling and requirements). Students will be expected to do reading set for class, and to undertake additional research and reading applicable to a 6 credit point unit.