LAW5459 - Australians detained abroad - 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)

Lt Colonel Dan Mori (Ret)

Not offered in 2019


There are hundreds of Australian citizens detained overseas for a variety of reasons including foreign criminal proceedings, child abduction or victims of kidnappings. This unit explores the legal underpinnings, consular protections and avenues of legal redress in these sometimes-murky situations. Whether an Australian's nightmare begins with an extradition request from another country or being lured overseas to act as a drug mule, there can be serious consequences including the death penalty. When one's child has been taken to another country or a loved one has been kidnapped, what can be done within the law and the consequences of stepping outside the law is not always clear. Most believe that Australia will come to the rescue and protect its citizens. Yet, the consular services provided in many cases may not meet with the public's expectations.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Apply knowledge and understanding of recent developments in relation to a range of legal circumstances including extradition proceedings, foreign criminal proceedings, international child custody disputes and kidnappings that result in the detention of Australian citizens within Australia and abroad as they arise in a legal dispute with creativity and initiative to new situations in professional practice and/or for further learning;
  2. Investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories in relation to relevant jurisprudence from comparable domestic legal system such as the United States, Canada, New Zealand and the UK to apply in the Australian context.
  3. Conduct research in the operation of relevant law in a practical setting based on knowledge of appropriate research principles and methods.
  4. Use cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate at an abstract level complex ideas and concepts relevant to a range of different legal issues address within the unit.


Research assignment (4,500 words): 60%

In-class client advice letter (2250 words): 30%

Class participation/attendance: 10%

Workload requirements

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