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Defamation Law (LAWS70181)

Graduate coursework level 7Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2018
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 7
Subject codeLAWS70181
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

There is no international consensus as to an appropriate balance by defamation laws between freedom of expression and the protection of reputation. The increasingly cross-border nature of communications has heightened the potential for conflict between different jurisdictions’ laws. This subject examines Australia’s defamation law and practice alongside a close analysis of other important common law jurisdictions, particularly the United Kingdom and North America, to enable students to analyse, apply and critically evaluate defamation laws in contemporary contexts.

The subject brings together two leading media law experts. Associate Professor Jason Bosland is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Media and Communications Law and Dr Matt Collins QC is an Australian barrister and author of a leading international text on defamation law.

Principal topics include:

  • Elements of the cause of action: publication, identification, defamatory meaning
  • Truth-related defences
  • Fair comment and honest opinion
  • Privilege and fair report defences
  • Other defences
  • Jurisdiction and choice of law
  • Remedies and practice
  • Related causes of action
  • English and American defamation law: comparative focus.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated detailed understanding of the ways in which Australian defamation laws regulate free speech and the right to reputation
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the key differences between Australian defamation laws and the defamation laws of other important common law countries, principally England and the United States
  • Be able to examine critically and analyse independently the law and divergent legal norms in Australian, English and American defamation law
  • Have a detailed appreciation of how modern and global media of communication have challenged traditional principles for regulating freedom of speech and the right to reputation.

Last updated: 29 March 2019