LAW5635 - Contemporary issues in international sports law - 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.



Unit guides



  • Term 2 2017 (Day)


International sport has always been a source of social capital and national pride. Over the last few decades it also has evolved into a significant commercial industry and vehicle for international diplomacy. As international sports' social, cultural, economic and political importance has grown and evolved, so too have the points at which it intersects with the law, with the result that legal issues concerning doping and drugs; match fixing and corruption; competition and anti-discrimination; and athlete health, safety and welfare, are as likely to occupy the attention of the world's press as are the achievements of the athletes themselves.

This Unit engages students in critical discussion, analysis and debate about these important contemporary legal issues. Applying a comparative law perspective - and employing case studies drawn primarily from Australia, Europe and the United States - students will explore how different societies' perception of sport and legal traditions influence the development and application of law to sport. Students also will examine how international sporting issues expose the limitations of national regulatory regimes, and have led to the creation of transnational regulatory bodies and international dispute resolution mechanisms that themselves have become a source of controversy and scandal - leading to an examination and analysis of these institutions and the manner and extent to which they are held accountable.


On completion of this Unit, students will be able to:

  • Apply knowledge and understanding, from an international and comparative perspective, of the manner with which the law has evolved and adapted in its application to sport and, in so doing, demonstrate sophisticated awareness of the extent to which sport's 'specificity' (its unique social, cultural and political standing and need for 'competitive balance') has modified the application of traditional legal concepts to it;
  • Investigate, analyse and synthesize complex legal and policy issues impacting the evolution of the application of the law to sport, including balancing protection of the 'integrity and spirit of sport' with athlete rights; commercial interests with societal interests; and competition with competitive balance;
  • Conduct research into a contemporary international sporting issue to: identify relevant factual, legal and policy issues; critically evaluate the existing legal and regulatory regimes; and though the application of legal reasoning, critical analysis and their cognitive and creative skills, generate appropriate jurisprudential and practical responses and/or reforms;
  • Collaborate and communicate in ways that are effective, appropriate and persuasive for both legal and non-legal audiences.


Attendance requirement: students who fail to attend at least 80% of the classes in this unit (ie who miss 3 or more classes) will receive a result of 0 N for the unit. Students who are unable to meet this requirement due to severe illness or other exceptional circumstances must make an application for in-semester special consideration with supporting documentation.

Seminar presentation: 10%

Preparation of case note: (1500 words) 20%

Research assignment: (5250 words) 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)