units

LAW7486

Faculty of Law

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

LevelPostgraduate
FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedNot offered in 2012

Synopsis

In 2006, Victoria enacted the landmark Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act (2006) ("Charter"), which incorporates civil and political rights into the domestic law of Victoria. The Charter provides a domestic avenue for the resolution of human rights disputes that were previously addressed in a piecemeal fashion under non-human rights specific laws and, on occasion, referred to unenforceable international fora for dispute resolution. This unit focuses on the history, development and operation of the Charter.

Students undertaking this unit will study the history, development and theoretical framework of the Charter within the Victorian, Australian and comparative settings. Students will consider the different structures and mechanisms employed by comparative human rights instruments, and the impact these differences have on the relevance of those instruments to the Charter.

Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of how the Charter operates in Victoria by thoroughly and critically exploring the scope of the rights, the powers to place restrictions on rights, the impact of the Victorian Charter on the development and interpretation of legislation, the impact of the Victorian Charter on public authorities, and the complex relationships that are established between various entities under the Charter. The analytical approach to the material will enable students to contribute to debate about reform of the Charter.

The unit will also develop various skills of students, including statutory interpretation and jurisprudence analysis.

This unit will appeal to all students, particularly those with an interest in human rights, constitutional law, administrative law, social justice and law reform.

Outcomes

Upon completion of this unit, students should:

  1. Understand the history, development and theoretical framework of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) (Victorian Charter) within the Victorian, Australian and comparative settings, with an emphasis on human rights legislation in Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, South African and the Australian Capital Territory;
  2. Be able to identify and appreciate the different rights, structures and mechanisms employed by comparative human rights instruments, and the impact these differences have on the relevance of those instruments to the Victorian Charter;
  3. Have a comprehensive understanding of the rights protected under the Victorian Charter;
  4. Have a comprehensive understanding of the ways rights can be restricted under the Victorian Charter (including internal and external limitations, and the override provision), and the ability to apply and analyse the various legal tests associated with these restrictions;
  5. Understand, and be able to analyse and critically comment on, the mechanisms of the Victorian Charter that impact on legislation, including the pre-legislative mechanism (s 28), the legislative mechanism (s 30) and interpretative obligations (ss 32 and 36) under the Victorian Charter;
  6. Understand, and be able to analyse and critically comment on, the mechanisms of the Victorian Charter that impact on public authorities, including being able to identify public authorities (ss 4 and 38), the scope of their human rights obligations (s 38), and the remedies available for a breach of their human rights obligation (s 39);
  7. Be able to identify the entities with responsibilities under the Victorian Charter, and have a sophisticated understanding of the interactions that occur between those entities;
  8. Be able to meaningful contribute to debate about reform of the Victorian Charter, including understanding the legislatively mandated review processes under the Victorian Charter, and the current debates surroundings reform options;
  9. Be able to find and analyse relevant resources relating to the Victorian Charter, including statements of compatibility, parliamentary reports, and jurisprudence;
  10. Further develop legal research, writing, and argument skills in the area of the Victorian Charter; and
  11. Further develop oral articulation of legal argument during class discussions.

Assessment

Option A:
One research assignment (3,750 words): 50%
One take-home examination (3,750 words): 50%

Option B:
One research assignment (7,500 words): 100%

Contact hours

Students enrolled in this unit will be provided with 24 contact hours of seminars per semester whether intensive, semi-intensive, or semester-long offering.