Faculty of Law

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 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

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FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedPrato Term 2 2013 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Janice Richardson


This unit will be primarily concerned with examining what legal action individuals can take in order to protect their privacy against others: the state, the media, companies and other individuals. It will look at the position in Australia and then the development of the common law torts in England. The English position is unusual because the common law has been developed so as to give effect to Art 8 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) on a case by case basis. The jurisprudence of European Court of Human Rights and its broad interpretation of Art 8 ECHR (Right to Private and Family Life) will then be considered in this context. The general approach of European law to protecting privacy will be contrasted with the underlying values that are reflected in the US.


Students who successfully complete this unit should:

  1. be in a position to examine a factual situation which has caused a person loss of privacy and to determine whether that person has a cause of action under the law of torts in Australia, England and (under Art 8 ECHR) in European generally;
  2. be in a position, having determined that a cause of action exists, to advise on the remedies (damages, injunctions, etc) which should be pursued by the person who has suffered the loss or damage;
  3. be in a position to consider the way in which the European Court of Human Rights has envisaged the right to privacy; to be able to critically discuss the underpinnings of law such as: what is privacy and what is being protected?
  4. be in a position to compare the approach of Europe to that of the US with regard to the meaning of privacy. This will include an examination of the argument that privacy protects respect for the dignity of personhood against assaults by the media and culture industry. It will also involve considering the position of the state, for example, the argument that national health services should have access to sensitive data to aid medical research. The extent to which different views of liberty are implicated in the argument will be explored


Seminar and presentation assessment: 20% and take-home examination: 80%.

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

6 hours over 6 weeks or 12 hours over 3 weeks.


LAW1101 and LAW1104 or other introduction to law courses.