This is a professional entry master's degree which satisfies the academic requirements for admission to practice as an Australian lawyer. It is also a preparation for diverse careers in and beyond the law, and offers a pathway to doctoral studies. The course provides advanced and integrated knowledge of the principal areas of legal practice, legal concepts and broader perspectives about the law. It develops advanced professional skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, research, communication, collaboration, self-management, ethical awareness and professional judgment. The skills and knowledge learned in the course are applied in a later year professional project. The elective component gives flexibility to choose from a wide range of specialist units, to study overseas, and to undertake clinical learning.
Postgraduate - Course
This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2018 and should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Law.
Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.
Admission and fees
Course progression map
Master by coursework
3 years FT, 6 years PT
Students have a maximum of 8 years to complete this course including any periods of intermission and suspension, and must be continuously enrolled throughout.
Mode and location
On-campus (City (Melbourne))
Graduate Diploma in Law
Refer to 'Alternative exits' entry below for further requirements and details.
These course outcomes are aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework level 9 and Monash Graduate AttributesAustralian Qualifications Framework level 9 and Monash Graduate Attributes (http://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/handbooks/alignmentofoutcomes.html).
Upon successful completion of this course it is expected that:
- Students will demonstrate an advanced and integrated understanding of a complex body of knowledge that includes:
- the fundamental areas of legal knowledge, the Australian legal system, and underlying principles and concepts, including international and comparative contexts
- the broader contexts within which legal issues arise
- the principles and values of justice and of ethical practice in lawyers' roles
- contemporary developments in law, and its professional practice.
- Students will have:
- an advanced and integrated understanding of approaches to ethical decision-making
- an ability to recognise and reflect upon, and a developing ability to respond to, ethical issues likely to arise in professional contexts
- an ability to recognise and reflect upon the professional responsibilities of lawyers in promoting justice and in service to the community
- a developing ability to exercise professional judgement.
- Students will:
- identify and articulate complex legal issues
- apply legal reasoning and research to generate appropriate jurisprudential and practical responses to legal issues
- engage in critical analysis and make reasoned and appropriate choices amongst alternatives
- demonstrate sophisticated cognitive and creative skills in approaching legal issues and generating appropriate responses and developing new understandings.
- Students will demonstrate the intellectual and practical skills needed to:
- justify and interpret theoretical propositions, legal methodologies, conclusions and professional decisions
- identify, research, evaluate and synthesise relevant factual, legal and policy issues.
- Students will:
- communicate in ways that are effective, appropriate and persuasive for legal and non-legal audiences
- collaborate effectively.
- Students will:
- learn and work with a high level of autonomy, accountability and professionalism
- reflect on and assess their own capabilities and performance
- make use of feedback to support personal and professional development.
Credit for prior studies
Students may be eligible for credit or exemptions to a maximum of 48 points for previous studies in law at an equivalent level.
Admission to practice: Disciplinary reports
Warning to students of consequences of academic or general misconduct
Students should note that a domestic applicant applying for admission to practise law in Victoria is required by the Legal Profession Uniform Admissions Rules 2015 to provide to the Victorian Legal Admissions Board:
- a report from the University disclosing any disciplinary action taken against the student during the course (including any finding under the University Discipline Statute that the student has cheated in an assessment)
- a statutory declaration stating that the applicant has made full written disclosure of "every matter which a reasonable applicant would consider that the Board might regard as not being favourable to the applicant". This may include an incident of academic or general misconduct, even if it did not lead to disciplinary action.
The Victorian Legal Admissions Board will consider these matters in assessing whether the applicant is a 'fit and proper person to be admitted to the legal profession'.
The course is designed to equip you with basic legal knowledge and skills that are required for admission to legal practice, with the opportunity to develop specialised knowledge in areas of law of your choice. The basic knowledge is imparted through three broad themes: legal methodology and legal practice, public law and private law. The specialised knowledge and advanced skills are imparted in later year elective units.
Part A. Legal methodology and legal practice
This theme includes the nature of law, and particularly statute law enacted by parliaments and common law developed by courts. It also includes the key concepts, principles and methods of research and reasoning that enable lawyers to identify and interpret law and apply it to relevant facts in order to provide legal advice. It covers the law of procedure and evidence that governs judicial proceedings, alternative methods of resolving legal disputes, and the code of ethics that regulates the professional conduct of legal practitioners.
Part B. Public law
Public law includes constitutional law, administrative law and criminal law. It concerns the powers and procedures of the legislative, executive and judicial organs of government, and how they are regulated and controlled by 'the rule of law'. It also concerns the legal relationship between government and individuals, including the protection of individual rights.
Part C. Private law
Private law deals with legal relationships between legal persons, including corporations as well as individuals. It includes the study of property rights, contractual rights and obligations, wrongs (called 'torts') such as trespass and the negligent infliction of injury, and the law of equity and trusts.
Part D. Extending specialised knowledge and advanced skills
In these studies you will complete at least one commercial law unit and a professional project and will also add to your expertise by choosing from a broad range of elective law units. Elective law units enable you to develop specialised knowledge and advanced skills in areas of law that suit your own interests, skills and career goals.
The course comprises 144 points structured into four parts: Part A. Legal methodology and legal practice (24 points), Part B. Public law (30 points), Part C. Private law (42 points) and Part D. Extending expertise: Specialist law electives (48 points).
The course progression mapcourse progression map (http://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/2018handbooks/maps/map-l6005.pdf) will assist you to plan to meet the course requirements, and guidance on unit enrolment for each semester of study.
Units are six credit points unless otherwise stated.
Part A. Legal methodology and legal practice (24 points)
- Australian legal reasoning and methods
- Principles of litigation and dispute resolution
- Ethics in legal practice
- Principles of evidence
Part B. Public law (30 points)
- Principles of contract law B
- Principles of public law and statutory interpretation
- Principles of constitutional law
- Principles of administrative law
- Principles of criminal law and procedure
Part C. Private law (42 points)
- Principles of torts
- Principles of contract Law A
- Principles of property law
- Principles of equity
- Principles of company law
- Advanced property law
- Principles of trusts
Part D. Extending expertise: Specialist law electives (48 points)
Students complete 48 points of elective units which must include:
- one commercial law elective chosen from the list below
- one professional project unit chosen from the list below
The remaining units (taking the total credit points to 144 can be selected from level 5 units offered by the Faculty of Lawoffered by the Faculty of Law (http://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/handbooks/units/index-byfaculty-law.html).
Students must complete 72 points of core units before undertaking any elective units.
Commercial law electives
Students complete at least one commercial law elective (6 points) chosen from the list below:
- Principles of taxation
- Intellectual property
- Competition law
- Commercial dispute resolution
- Private investment law
- International investment law
- Trade marks and commercial designations
Students complete at least one professional elective chosen from the list below:
- Clinical placement
- Professional practice (JD) (12 points)*
- Professional project
- Vis arbitration moot
- Jessup moot competition
- Extended research (12 points)**
- Advocacy theory and practice
* This unit has a prerequisite which is achievement of at least twelve units or 72 credit points towards the Juris Doctor to include:, , and or equivalent.
** This unit requires that students have completed four elective units and obtained 70 per cent or above in each of the units. A quota applies.
Students may exit this course early and apply to graduate with the following award, provided they have satisfied the requirements for that award during their enrolment in the master's course:
- L5001 Graduate Diploma in Law after successful completion of 48 points of study with a minimum of 36 credit points at level 4 or above.
Progression to further studies
Students can choose to complete a research thesis (24 points) that will provide a pathway to a higher degree by research.
Students who have completed the Juris Doctor have the opportunity of undertaking a an expert Master of Laws (LLM) degree within 10 years of completion of the JD, with up to 24 points of credit counted towards the LLM.