LAW5407 - Current issues in 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)

  • First semester 2017 (Evening)


This unit will build upon the study of Torts in the undergraduate and JD programs and explore a range of controversial contemporary issues in relation to tortious liability. It will enhance student's understanding of the mechanisms through which torts law addresses civil wrongs. It will analyse the social, economical and political constraints in which torts law operates and how they find reflection in liability rules. Where appropriate, the unit will have regard to materials from other jurisdictions and adopt a comparative approach.

The issues considered may vary, depending on topicality, and lecturer and student interest in a given year. They are likely to include some or all of the following:

  1. The Ipp reforms and the role of statute
  2. Developments in liability for psychiatric harm
  3. Liability for infliction of mental distress
  4. Privacy law reform
  5. Changes to the concept of causation in tort
  6. Loss of chance
  7. Wrongful birth and wrongful life
  8. Immunities
  9. Torts and human rights.


On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate and apply specialised knowledge of a range of current controversies in torts law;
  2. demonstrate advanced skills in interpreting civil liability legislation, tort law cases, academic commentary and law reform materials and applying them to evaluate complex and novel tort law issues;
  3. critically evaluate the effectiveness of torts law in redressing civil wrongs having regard to the social, economic and political context in which tort law operates;
  4. conduct independent research into relevant domestic and international materials on contemporary torts law issues; and
  5. write clear, creative and persuasive opinions and critical essays demonstrating an advanced understanding of contemporary torts issues.


Research assignment (3,750 words): 50%

Take-home examination (3,750 words): 50%

Workload requirements

24 contact hours per teaching period (either intensive, semi-intensive or semester long, depending on the Faculty resources, timetabling and requirements)

Chief examiner(s)


LAW5003 Principles of torts (or equivalent)