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International Law and Children's Rights (LAWS70120)

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

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 7
Subject codeLAWS70120
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Issues concerning children, whether they arise at the international, regional or local level, are increasingly being examined from a human rights perspective. Much of the momentum for this movement has been generated by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989, and has been ratified by every state in the world except the United States and South Sudan. This subject is designed to provide students with an understanding of the CRC and the idea of a human rights-based approach to matters involving children. It will be of interest to anyone who works in areas that impact on children, either directly or indirectly, at the international, regional or local level. The lecturer has extensive networks with civil society, international bodies and government agencies that he draws on to provide an appropriate blend of academic and practical content.

The subject consists of two parts. Part one involves a general discussion of:

  • The notion of children’s rights
  • The international framework for the protection of children’s rights, with particular emphasis on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
  • The factors that impact on the implementation of the Convention, both in Australia and overseas.

Part two involves an examination of specific issues relevant to children and how the Convention and a rights-based analysis can be used to respond to these issues. The issues will be drawn from areas such as:

  • Sexual exploitation, including trafficking, prostitution and pornography
  • Child labour
  • Juvenile justice
  • Child refugees
  • Violence against children
  • Children in armed conflict
  • HIV/AIDS and children
  • Child poverty and homelessness.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the relevant international laws, processes and systems relating to children's rights and their status under both international and domestic law
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal rules, processes and systems
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field of children's rights, in areas such as child labour, the alleviation of child poverty, the sexual exploitation of children, the impact of armed conflict on children and violence against children
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the factors and processes driving engagement and implementation of children's rights
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to the concept of children's rights and its application to a range of issues concerning children
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating children's rights
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding children's rights to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of children's rights.

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Core participation requirements

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact Student Equity and Disability Support.


Additional details

  • Take-home examination (5,000 - 6,000 words) (100%) (13 - 16 December)
  • Research paper (8,000 - 10,000 words) (100%) (15 January 2020) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

  • October
    Principal coordinatorJohn Tobin
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours24-34 hours
    Total time commitment150 hours
    Pre teaching start date25 September 2019
    Pre teaching requirementsThe pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.
    Teaching period23 October 2019 to 29 October 2019
    Last self-enrol date31 July 2019
    Census date23 October 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail 6 December 2019
    Assessment period ends15 January 2020

    October contact information

Additional delivery details

This subject has a quota of 30 students.

Enrolment is on a first come, first served basis. Waitlists are maintained for subjects that are fully subscribed.

Students should note priority of places in subjects will be given as follows:

  • To currently enrolled Graduate Diploma and Masters students with a satisfactory record in their degree
  • To other students enrolling on a single subject basis, eg Community Access Program (CAP) students, cross-institutional study and cross-faculty study.

Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Further information

Last updated: 13 September 2019