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 2021, 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 2021 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 1 2021 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 1 2021 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 2021, and research project topics

The following elective units are available as host units, for the purposes of Research Paper, in 2021.

Semester 1


Chief Examiner


LAW4113 Current problems in criminal law Dr Stephen Gray According to Andrew Dyer, the law in Australia on the question of when a mistake by the victim will negate her apparent consent to sexual intercourse is in dire need of reform. Dyer argues that this should occur by ‘making it clear that, where the complainant has made a but for mistake in a case not expressly dealt with by the sub-section, a conviction should be returned unless the complainant’s sexual autonomy interest is outweighed by a sufficiently pressing countervailing consideration’

(Andrew Dyer, ‘Mistakes that Negate Apparent Consent’ (2019) 43(3) Criminal Law Journal 159-179, at 162).

Discuss this view, with particular reference to the provisions in s 36(2) Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) relating to a person mistaken about the sexual nature of the act or the identity of the accused.

LAW4172 Human rights in Australian law Dr Tania Penovic Which recommendations would you make to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in its engagement with States parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights? In particular, how could the impacts of the Committee’s Concluding Observations be enhanced? How could the quality of the dialogue with States be improved, in order to encourage States to take the recommendations of the Committee more seriously? How should the Committee address the view that the rights set out in the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are not justiciable?

In your discussion, you should make reference to relevant scholarship and to Australia’s engagement with the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

LAW4541 Gender and the law Associate Professor Janice Richardson Critically analyse and compare the relationship between the marriage contract and the employment contract as detailed in the work of Carole Pateman.
LAW4129 Law and discrimination Dr Colin Campbell How does the social model of disability differ from the medical model? What are the implications for anti-discrimination law of the adoption of one model, or the other?
LAW4542 AI, technology and the law Associate Professor Janice Richardson Critically evaluate and compare Alex Pentland’s theoretical position with that of Shoshana Zuboff, drawing out the main legal implications of both positions.

LAW4301 Advanced torts

Associate Professor Norman Witzleb TBA - Mid January 2021
LAW4313 International environmental law Dr Gerry Nagtzaam How could a international plastic pollution treaty resolve the global plastic pollution problem?

LAW4140 The Media, defamation and privacy

Dr Sharon Rodrick Does a hyperlink that appears in a publication constitute a publication of the material contained in the hyperlink for the purposes of defamation law in Australia? Should it?
LAW4342 Patents, trade marks and unfair competition Professor Ann Monotti
Prior to the Patents Act 1990 (Cth) (PA), a patentee had limited rights under the common law against a contributory infringer. The PA extended a patentee’s rights to incorporate the concept of ‘authorisation’ in s 13(1) and introduced s 117 to deal with the specific problems arising from contributory infringement.

In the light of the origins of these sections, including the rationales for the introduction of s 117 and any relevant case law, examine whether the problems posed by contributory infringement are now resolved.
LAW4702 Competition and consumer law Dr Mel Marquis
The migration to a digital world has produced important benefits and social value. At the same time, there have been growing concerns about the ‘dark underbelly’ of digitalization as its broader effects and implications emerge more clearly. The background to this research project is that the digital economy has moved the frontiers of the formulation and enforcement of competition law and policy. In this regard, a number of issues call for further research and reflection. To cite just one example among others, the distinctive economic features of digital platforms and consumer data appear to create significant opportunities for the accumulation of durable market power, as well as its use and possible misuse. This is a topic of ongoing debate both within Australia and globally. For this research task you are called on to consider these discussions at both the domestic and global levels (as well as any relevant sources such as case law), identify competition problems that require attention, and suggest strategies to optimise Australia’s response to these competition problems. Such strategies may include a combination of options. Part of your analysis should include, but should not be limited to, a consideration of whether the Australian Competition and Consumer Act should be modified, and if so, for what reasons. For the avoidance of doubt, the core of the research paper should be competition law and policy. Discussion of problems posed in other fields (for example, issues such as ‘fake news’, harmful media content, online scams, etc.) is not prohibited but such discussion will not earn credit unless it is shown how the problems also implicate competition law and policy.

LAW4704 Taxation law

Professor Stephen Barkoczy The different outcomes in Scottish Australian Mining Co Ltd v FC of T (1950) 81 CLR 188 and FC of T v Whitfords Beach Pty Ltd 82 ATC 4031 are difficult to reconcile. To what extent (if any) have subsequent court decisions rationalised the outcomes in these cases and what guiding principles do the subsequent cases stand for?
LAW4322 Advanced Tax Professor Stephen Barkoczy Part IVA of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 is drafted so widely that it has the potential to impede upon legitimate commercial transactions. Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with this statement and provide examples to support your conclusions.

Semester 2

Unit Chief ExaminerTopic

LAW4155 International human rights law

The Hon Kevin Bell TBA
LAW4341 Copyright and designs Professor Mark Davison


LAW4122 International law Professor Jean Allain TBA 

LAW4310 Trial practice and advocacy

Dr Jacqui Horan


LAW4132 Law of employment Professor Marilyn Pittard TBA 

LAW4671 Private Investment law

Professor Stephen Barkoczy/Tamara Wilkinson TBA 
LAW4702 Competition and consumer law Dr Mel Marquis TBA

LAW4704 Taxation law

Professor Stephen Barkoczy TBA
LAW4225 Non-adversarial justice Esther Firkin/Jessie Taylor/Liz Richardson TBA
LAW4312 Legal issues in medicine Dr Fiona Hum TBA
LAW4112 Advanced constitutional law Emeritus Professor Hoong Lee TBA 
LAW4311 Succession law Richard Antill TBA 
LAW4190 Construction law: Principles and practice Professor Paula Gerber TBA

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. Associate Professor Gerry Nagtzaam
    Phone: +61 3 9905 3330, Email: