LAW5003 - Principles of torts - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

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



Quota applies

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

Unit guides


City (Melbourne)

  • Trimester 1 2017 (Day)
  • Trimester 2 2017 (Day)
  • Trimester 3 2017 (Day)


For postgraduate Law discontinuation dates, please see

For postgraduate Law unit timetables, please see

Previously coded as LAW7266


This unit introduces students to the law of civil wrongs (torts), including the role and purposes of tort law, the interests which it protects, and its relationship to statutory schemes which provide compensation for injury or loss. Students begin with selected intentional torts (trespass to the person, assault and battery, false imprisonment, trespass to land) and the strict liability tort of private nuisance, including elements and defences. Students then study the tort of negligence; its development, the elements of the tort and the various contexts in which it arises, the types of harms that are compensable, defences, the assessment of damages; concurrent liability and contribution by multiple wrongdoers, the particular problems raised by negligently caused mental harm and pure economic loss, and the concept of vicarious liability. Students will examine the impact of statutory law reform, in particular the civil liability reforms, on torts law, and broader policy debates about how civil wrongs should be redressed and injuries and losses compensated.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. critically evaluate the role and effectiveness of torts law in redressing civil wrongs, and its relationship with statutory schemes of compensation;
  2. demonstrate the intellectual and practical skills needed to interpret legal conclusions and professional decisions, including assessment of recent developments in tort law;
  3. identify, research, evaluate and synthesise legal and policy issues in tort law;
  4. demonstrate cognitive and creative skills in generating appropriate and reasoned responses to legal problems;
  5. communicate effectively, appropriately and persuasively on issues of tort law; and
  6. learn and work with autonomy, accountability and professionalism, including through use of feedback to improve their professional development.


  1. Research assignment (case focussed assessment, such as a case note - 2,250 words): 30%
  2. Examination (2 hours plus 30 minutes reading and noting time): 70%

Workload requirements

Students enrolled in this unit will be provided with 36 contact hours of seminars per semester whether intensive, semi-intensive, or semester-long offering. Students will be expected to do reading set for class, and to undertake additional research and reading applicable to a 6 credit point unit.

Chief examiner(s)

Ms Nicole Mollard ([Personal Profile]] Trimester 1 Assoc Prof Janice Richardson Research ProfileResearch Profile ( Trimester 2 Dr Joanna KyriakakisPersonal ProfilePersonal Profile ( Trimester 3