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Rights and Freedoms in Malaysia (LAWS90135)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5Not available in 2018

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Year of offerNot available in 2018
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeLAWS90135
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject, which is situated intellectually within the broad ‘Law and Society’ approach to the study of law, gives students the opportunity to develop an advanced and integrated understanding of the historical, political, economic, religious and social context of, and influences upon, the often turbulent contests about the meaning and application of constitutional rights and freedoms in multi-cultural Malaysia. In doing this, the subject also provides opportunities to reflect critically upon the commonalities with, and differences from, the way that rights and freedoms are advanced, protected, or limited in other Westminster-style legal and political systems, including but not limited to, Australia. No prior knowledge of Malaysia is required and no knowledge of Malay language is necessary. Current and abiding issues will be studied through selected case studies covering topics such as civil and political rights in an age of terrorism; freedom of religion in a multi-cultural society; gender and sexuality rights in a plural legal system; the survival of customary laws and the recognition of indigenous native title; rights litigation and the role of courts, lawyers and civil society.

Intended learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete the subject will be able to:

  • Possess a deep and sophisticated understanding of the influences of political, social, cultural and economic factors upon the law and legal institutions;
  • Be able to critically analyse, evaluate and interpret the reasons for significant areas of tension between competing rights claims within specific temporal and socio-political settings;
  • Be able to demonstrate a detailed appreciation of the factors that assist, or inhibit, the capacity of legal institutions to defend and advance constitutional rights and freedoms
  • Have a deep and critical appreciation of the usefulness and limitations of comparative analyses of rights and freedoms
  • Be able to communicate their advanced and integrated analysis to expert audiences in an academic format, and to lay audiences in a plain English format.

Generic skills

  • Demonstrate knowledge of a foreign legal system;
  • Make appropriate and well-supported comparisons between the way different national legal systems promote and protect rights and freedoms;
  • Research and explain how law and legal institutions are embedded in political and social institutions
  • Formulate and refine a research question drawing upon a variety of legal and non-legal research materials;
  • Present research findings orally, in plain English form and in a scholarly manner.

Eligibility and requirements


This subject requires students to have completed the below subjects:

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
LAWS50023 Legal Method and Reasoning
Summer Term
LAWS50024 Principles of Public Law
Semester 1
LAWS50025 Torts
Semester 1
LAWS50027 Dispute Resolution
Semester 1
LAWS50028 Constitutional Law
Semester 2
LAWS50032 Administrative Law
Semester 1



Non-allowed subjects

Students cannot enrol in this subject if they have previously undertaken the following subject:

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
LAWS90122 Human Rights in Asia: Current Issues

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • Class participation, comprising: oral presentation of draft research paper findings (10%) and oral peer-review and constructive advice on another student’s presentation (5%) – presentations and feedback to take place in last two weeks of semester
  • A plain English summary of the research paper findings (1,000 words, 15%), due at the same time as the research paper, written in the style of an Op-Ed piece for an intelligent lay audience, for example: an essay for The Conversation or The Guardian Online, or a script for a public radio broadcast.
  • Independent research paper on a topic that draws upon the themes of the subject, developed by the student in consultation with the instructor (4,000 words, 70%); due at end of the semester.

The due date of the above assessment will be available to students via the Assessment Schedule on the LMS Community.

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

Not available in 2018

Additional delivery details

This subject has a quota of 60 students. Please refer to the Melbourne Law School website for the JD Quota Elective selection process.

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Specialist printed materials will also be made available from the Melbourne Law School.

Last updated: 29 March 2019