LAW5325 - Defamation law - 2019

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.



Chief examiner(s)

Sharon Rodrick Research ProfileResearch Profile (

Quota applies

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

Not offered in 2019


For postgraduate Law discontinuation dates, please see

For postgraduate Law unit timetables, please see

Previously coded as LAW7140


This unit comprises a detailed study of Australia's current defamation laws, which consist of the uniform defamation legislation enacted by each State and Territory and the continued operation of relevant common law principles. In addition to identifying and analysing the elements of the cause of action, the operation of defences and remedies, the unit will consider how defamation trials are conducted from the perspective of both plaintiffs and defendants, including pleadings, choice of law principles which apply when defamatory matter is published across multiple jurisdictions and mode of trial. The unit will also offer some comparative analysis of corresponding principles in other jurisdictions (particularly the United Kingdom), explore the application of defamation laws to new media, and assess the advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives to defamation law. The unit will constantly reflect on whether Australia's defamation laws satisfactorily balance freedom of speech and the right to reputation.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  • apply knowledge and understanding of recent developments in relation to, Australian defamation law with creativity and initiative to new situations in professional practice and/or for further learning;
  • investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories in relation to defamation law;
  • conduct research in defamation law based on knowledge of appropriate research principle and methods; and
  • use cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate at an abstract level complex ideas and concepts relevant to defamation law.


One research assignment (3750 words): 50% + One take-home examination (3750 words): 50%

Workload requirements

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