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Accounting for Commercial Lawyers (LAWS70140)

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

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 7
Subject codeLAWS70140
Availability(Quotas apply)
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject introduces the fundamentals of accounting and financial statement interpretation within the context of government and commercial environments. Commencing with an examination of the principal financial statements the subject navigates the nature and types of transactions undertaken by organisations and how these transactions are recorded and reported. In the second half of the semester the subject addresses the key techniques for deeply assessing the financial performance, funding capacity and solvency of organisations. Finally the subject concludes with an examination of the accounting policy choices organisations may use to present their financial statements in the best possible light.

Principal topics include:

  • The purpose of accounting
  • Accounting reports and analysis
  • Financial statement ratios
  • Financial statement disclosures
  • Accounting policy choices and earnings management
  • Accounting reports and business failures
  • The limitations of accounting information.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the Accounting principles underlying the preparation and interpretation of published financial statements
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness with which published financial statements meet the informational needs of users
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding the efficacy of financial statements and the relative merits of proposed alternatives
  • Have an advanced understanding of the accounting policies and choices available to preparers of financial statements
  • Have a detailed understanding of earnings management policy choices used in commercial and political environments
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to the interpretation of financial statements
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse an organisation’s financial performance
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding financial performance to relevant specialist and non-specialist audience
  • Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility when using financial statements.

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

This subject focuses on the fundamentals of accounting and financial reports. It is designed for students with limited accounting experience and is not recommended for students who have previously completed undergraduate or postgraduate accounting studies.

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.



  • Take-home examination (5,000 - 6,000 words) (100%) (21 - 24 June)
  • Research paper (8,000 - 10,000 words) (100%) (24 June) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorRichard Comerford
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours24 hours
    Total time commitment150 hours
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 2 June 2019
    Last self-enrol date 7 December 2018
    Census date31 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail10 May 2019
    Assessment period ends28 June 2019

    Semester 1 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

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Specialist materials will be made available free of charge from Melbourne Law School prior to the pre-teaching period.

  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    If required, please contact law-admissions@unimelb.edu.au for subject coordinator approval.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 3 April 2019