LAW4801 Research Project

Brief outline of LAW4801 Research Project

A student undertaking LAW4801 Research Project will be "attached" to a particular elective unit (the “host unit”). You will attend classes for the host unit in the regular way, and will (amongst other things) write a research paper on a topic set by the host unit's Chief Examiner that pertains to the subject-matter of the host unit. Please see the table located at the end of these guidelines for a list of the host units available in 2018, as well as the essay topics pertaining to those units (where these have been made available).

A maximum of 10 students will be attached to each host unit for the purposes of Research Project.

Although students will normally write research papers individually, students may, at the discretion of the Chief Examiner of the relevant host unit, undertake Research Unit in groups of 3 or 4.

Eligibility and prerequisites

There is no minimum GPA requirement for entry into the Research Project, however eligibility for entry into the Research Project relies on you having completed the following prerequisite subjects:

  • LAW1111 Foundations of Law
  • LAW1112 Public Law and Statutory Interpretation
  • LAW1113 Torts
  • LAW1114 Criminal Law 1
  • LAW2101 Contract A
  • LAW2102 Contract B
  • LAW2111 Constitutional Law
  • LAW2112 Property A
  • LAW3111 Equity
  • LAW3112 Corporations Law
  • LAW3402 Property B
  • And any three Law elective units.

Enrolling in LAW4801 Research Project

Eligible students will enrol through the Web Enrolment System (WES) in the usual way, however there is an additional step required in Moodle for students to select their ‘host unit’.  Please ensure that you make your selection carefully as once you have selected a host unit, it is unable to be changed.

Please follow the below steps to enrol in LAW4801 Research Project:

  1. Enrol in LAW4801 Research Project through the Web Enrolment System (WES).  For assistance with enrolling through WES, please visit the WES help for coursework students web page.
  2. Identify your host unit preference from the list available (see below ‘Research Project host units for 2017 and research project topics’.
  3. Approximately two weeks prior to the beginning of the semester in which you have enrolled in Research Project, you will receive notification that you may now nominate your Host Unit. Once you have received that notification, enter Moodle and log in using your student ID and password.  For assistance with Moodle, please visit the Moodle Support for Students web page.
  4. Select LAW4801 Research project
  5. Under ‘Choosing your host unit’, click on ‘Host unit selection’.
  6. Select your host unit and click on ‘Save my choice’.**

**Please make your selection carefully.  Once you have selected a host unit, it cannot be changed. **

Approximately two weeks prior to the beginning of the semester in which you have enrolled in Research Project (ie semester 1 or semester 2), you will be notified that you will be able to nominate your Host Unit for the subject by way of the process described above.


We will endeavour to give each student their first preference of host unit, however the limit of 10 students per host unit means this may not always be possible.

In circumstances where more than 10 students wish to be allocated to a particular elective unit as the host unit for Research Project, enrolment will be based on a first come, first served basis. Students will assign themselves to the host unit in accordance with the availability of places in the host units, each of which has a quota.

Interaction with other units

You cannot enrol in Research Project unless you meet the prerequisites set out earlier in these guidelines. The prerequisites include successful completion of at least three other law elective units. Your enrolment in Research Project is otherwise independent of your enrolment in other elective units, even if that elective unit is your host unit for the purposes of Research Project.

This means that a student may be allocated to a particular host unit whether or not that student has previously undertaken that unit. Likewise, a student may enrol in an elective unit at the same time as that student is allocated to it as Research Project host unit.

For example, a student who is enrolled in Research Project in semester 2 2017 may be allocated LAW4129 Law and Discrimination as host unit whether or not that student has previously undertaken LAW4129. Likewise, a student who is enrolled in Research Project in semester 2 2017 with LAW4129 Law and Discrimination as host unit may also, at the same time, enrol in LAW4129 in the normal fashion.


For students who complete the research project as an individual activity:

1. Research skills modules (designed to help students develop the necessary skills to plain, research and write their research project) and quiz, completed online (10%)

2. Project plan (10%)

3. Research Project paper (4,000 words) (80%)

For students who complete the research project as a group activity:

1. Research skills modules and quiz completed online (10%)

2. Project plan - group activity (10%)

3. Online reflective journal entries on the conduct of the project - individual activity (10%)

4. Research Project paper (8,000 words) - group activity (70%)

Consultation with lecturers

The host unit classes that Research Project students attend will give them a suitable foundation for undertaking their research and completing their assessment tasks. This means that lecturers will not, in the normal course,be able to provide students with substantive feedback on any of the items listed under “Assessment” above, prior to submission. For example, they will not be able to tell students if their interpretation of the law regarding a certain matter is correct. Lecturers will not be able to read drafts of any of the items listed under “Assessment” above.

However, during one of weeks five, six or seven of the semester there will be a one hour class for each host unit (normally immediately after one of the normal classes for the unit) which is solely for Research Project students allocated to that unit. During this class, Research Project students will have the opportunity to discuss their Research Project progress with the Chief Examiner. For instance, you may seek advice about research and writing generally, or about particular difficulties you are having with the materials covered in lectures or with the writing of your Research Project paper.

Research Project host units for 2018, and research project topics

The following elective units are available as host units, for the purposes of Research Paper, in 2018.

Semester 1


Chief Examiner


LAW4122 International Law

Professor Jean Allain

"International Law has emerged from, and been imposed through, European colonialism.  Consider the future of international law beyond the dominance of Western civilisation"

LAW4130 Law and Social Theory

Assoc Prof Patrick Emerton

“In what way, if at all, does the existence of law depend upon the existence of widespread social sentiments? In answering this question, you must consider the relevance of the differentiation and specialisation of roles that is characteristic of contemporary society.”

LAW4155 International Human Rights

Professor Sarah Jopseh

"Critically analyse the scope and content of the extraterritorial human rights obligations of States (ie their international human rights law obligations for human rights abuses which occur outside their territorial borders).”

LAW4180 International Law of the Sea and Maritime Security: Pirates

Professor Douglas Guilfoyle

"In many areas, the law of the sea has struck a successful balance between the interests of flag states and coastal states."  Discuss, with reference to any two topics covered in this course."

LAW4193 Biotechnology and the Law

Assoc Prof Karinne Ludlow

"Critically compare and contrast the regulation of human embryo research in Australia with that in the United Kingdom. You should also consider recommended reforms, if any. The paper is to be analytical rather than simply descriptive. Note that while ethical concerns may be noted in the paper, analysis of the correctness or otherwise of such ethical concerns will not be relevant in the assessment of the paper."

LAW4198 Australian Commercial Law

Professor Justin Malbon

"The reformed section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act, which applies the so-called ‘effects test’, is (ironically perhaps) unlikely to be effective in practice. This is because the underlying policy for the provision has never been clear. This is not just the fault of policy-makers and legislators. The underlying (and often unstated) reasons why we wish for a provision like section 46 is paradoxical. We both fear big corporations taking advantage of their dominant market position and enjoy the economies of scale, convenience and lower prices they can sometimes deliver. Our perceptions and reactions to large players like Amazon, Microsoft and google are examples of this paradox.


LAW4244 Construction Law (Dispute Resolution)

Professor Paula Gerber

“Many disputes on construction projects arise out of latent conditions. What do you think could be done to change the way latent conditions are dealt with, so as to reduce the number of disputes arising from this issue?”


“Many disputes on construction projects arise out of variations. What do you think could be done to change the way variations are dealt with, so as to reduce the number of disputes arising from this issue?”


“Many disputes on construction projects arise out of allegations that the work performed by the contractor is defective. What do you think could be done to avoid disputes arising about the quality of the work?”


“Compare the proportionate liability scheme in Victoria (in the Wrongs Act) with the proportionate liability schemes in other Australian jurisdictions. Which model do you think is the best, and why?”

LAW4316 Media Law I

Dr Sharon Rodrick

"Some people are convinced that it is only a matter of time before legal disputes are ‘commenced, managed and concluded in electronic form’: The Honourable Justice Peter McClellan, ‘Courts in the 21st Century - Should We Do Things Differently?’ (2006) 8 The Judicial Review 23, 29. There are two principal ways in which court cases might be conducted in an online environment: cases might be conducted in a virtual courtroom or, more radically, cases might be conducted and resolved online with no ‘hearing’ at all.

If this eventuates, what are the implications for open justice (and in particular media reporting) and how might this seminal principle of our legal system continue to operate in this environment?"

LAW4301 Advanced Torts

Assoc Prof Normann Witzleb

"In light of judicial developments in other common law jurisdictions and changes in modern employment practices, should Australian courts recognise the concept of "dual vicarious liability", under which more than one employer may be held vicariously liable for an employee's misconduct? If so, in what circumstances would dual vicarious liability be appropriate?"

LAW4342 Patents, Trade Marks and Unfair Competition

Professor Mark Davison

“Analyse the implications of the Full Federal Court decision in Lodestar Anstalt v Campari America LLC [2016] FCAFC 92 for trade mark owners and licensees in Australia and compare and contrast the requirements for licensing in Australia with those in the United Kingdom and the United States.”

LAW4356 World Trade Organisation – Dispute Settlement

Dr Caroline Henckels

"To what extent do the general exceptions in GATT and GATS permit WTO members the autonomy to pursue domestic public policies? Critically analyse with reference to Appellate Body case law."

LAW4654 Law and Liberty

Assoc Prof Janice Richardson

1. Critically analyse John Stuart Mill's arguments in favour of free speech and consider his arguments in the context of hate speech; or

2. Critically examine the difference between liberal and republican conceptions of freedom.

LAW4702 Competition and Consumer Law

Professor Justin Malbon

"According to a report in Buzzfeed (Charlie Warzel ‘He Predicted The 2016 Fake News Crisis. Now He's Worried about an Information Apocalypse’ we are entering a dystopian future in which sophisticated tools will become readily available for enabling the manipulation of data on an unprecedented scale. The capacity to mislead individuals and the public will become widespread, and difficult to detect and deal with. For instance, artificial intelligence or machine learning could be deployed to mislead the public about the virtues or vices of the consumer products produced or sold by a corporation.

Is the present law on misleading or deceptive conduct under section 18 Australian Consumer Law able to cope with these developments? What if, for example, misleading or deceptive conduct arises from computer generated content that seems not to have been directly (or even indirectly) created by a human agent?


LAW4704 Taxation Law

Professor Stephen Barkoczy

"How have the Courts and Tribunals distinguished between share trading and share investing activities? Do the approaches adopted provide sufficient certainty for taxpayers?"

Semester 2

Unit Chief ExaminerTopic

LAW4112 Advanced Constitutional Law

Emeritus Professor HP Lee

"The use of the proportionality principle in Australian constitutional adjudication".

LAW4113 Current Problems in Criminal Law

Dr Natalia Antolak- Saper

"In 2017 the Andrews Labor Government introduced the Bail Amendment (Stage One) Bill 2017 in an attempt to ‘crack down on crime and keep the community safe’. Within this context, discuss and analyse the bail reforms developed and implemented by the Labor Government, and consider whether they are capable of achieving the objective of a ‘safe community."

LAW4122 International Law

Dr Eric Wilson

"Natural Law is the foundation of Public International Order and Public International Law. Do you agree or disagree?"

LAW4160 Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

Professor Jeff Giddings

"Compare the negotiation planning frameworks proposed by some or all of Lewicki et al, Alexander et al, Fells and Thompson, explaining and justifying your choice of which framework is the most effective."

LAW4184 International Criminal Law

Professor Douglas Guilfoyle

"The International Criminal Court, based on its 15 years of practical operation, must be judged a failure." Discuss.

LAW4230 Animal Law

Dr Joanna Kyriakakis

"Critically analyse the claim that Australian animal welfare law is characterised by an 'enforcement gap', using examples to demonstrate your analysis."

LAW4537 Public Policy, Regulation and the Law

Professor Graeme Hodge and Dr Eric Windholz

"Critically evaluate the extent to which administrative law operates to hold the modern regulatory state (and the regulatory tools it employs) accountable?" or
"In a world in which technology outpaces the law, we are increasingly relying on private regulation as opposed to public regulation.  Analyze and critically evaluate this statement."

LAW4671 Private Investment Law

Professor Stephen Barkoczy and Ms Tarmara Wilkinson

"Discuss and evaluate the policy rationale behind Australia's Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership program.”

LAW4704 Taxation Law

Professor Stephen Barkoczy

“To what extent are a taxpayer's indirect objects in incurring an outgoing relevant in determining the deductibility of interest expenses under s 8-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997?”

Contact information

For further information about the Research Project unit, please contact one of the following, preferably by email:

  1. Law Undergraduate Student Services

    Phone: Monash Connect Contact Centre on 1800 MONASH (1800 666 274)

    Online: Ask.Monash

  2. Dr. Colin Campbell
    Phone: +61 3 9905 3313, Email: