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Sports Law: Entities and Governance (LAWS70166)

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

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 7
Subject codeLAWS70166
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This century has witnessed much controversy concerning the governance of sport. Good governance and legal structures are seen by many astute observers as key elements in sporting success. From grassroots to the highest echelons, the governance of sport is a central practical issue and fascinating field of study. The law has struggled to meet the needs of community groups looking for effective but simple structures and governance models to propel sports participation and social connection, while successful professional sports leagues have searched for models that respond to their peculiar combination of sporting competition and economic cooperation. In the face of intensifying legal and public scrutiny, sports governing entities and regulators strive to implement good governance principles, structures and practices at the local, national and international levels of sport. This subject explores the legal aspects of these issues.

The lecturers bring an unrivalled combination of knowledge and experience in this area, encompassing leadership of major sports organisations, corporate and sports law practice, and published research on the business models of clubs, leagues and related sports law issues.

Principal topics include:

  • Overview of the organisational structures of Australian and international sport, encompassing clubs, regional and national governing bodies, professional leagues and tours, government authorities, special-interest groups, international federations and Olympic and Commonwealth Games organisations
  • Legal status of sports entities, including the legal personality and capacity of unincorporated clubs, incorporated associations and companies limited by guarantee, the meaning and consequences of trading activity and non-profit status and taxation
  • Legal regulation and corporate governance of sports entities, including the role and obligations of directors, officers and committee members of sports entities
  • The policy, regulatory and funding roles of the Australian Sports Commission
  • The legal and governance structures, and underlying economic principles, of professional sports leagues and other competitions
  • Sports entities and the legal process, including the sources and limits of legal authority over members, jurisdiction of domestic courts over international federations, leagues and tours, arbitration agreements and ouster of jurisdiction
  • Stakeholder rights and interests, incorporating a broad legal and policy analysis of issues of accountability, transparency and due process in the relationships between sports entities at various levels, government, financial supporters, elite and non-elite participants and fans.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Possess a general knowledge of the structure and management of sports entities in Australia and internationally
  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the law relating to sports entities in Australia
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of, and be able to apply, principles of good governance to sport
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal questions in relating to sports entities
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and debate over the suitability of existing legal and regulatory arrangements for the structure and management of sports entities.

Eligibility and requirements


Melbourne Law Masters Students: None

JD Students: Successful completion of all the below subjects and relevant work experience in this field:

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
LAWS50035 Corporations Law
Semester 2
LAWS50063 Competition Law
Semester 2



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

8,000 - 10,000 word research paper (100%) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator (13 February 2020)

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

  • November
    Principal coordinatorRobert Macdonald
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours24-34 hours
    Total time commitment150 hours
    Pre teaching start date28 October 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 period25 November 2019 to 29 November 2019
    Last self-enrol date 1 November 2019
    Census date25 November 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail 3 January 2020
    Assessment period ends13 February 2020

    November contact information


    Robert Macdonald, Coordinator
    James Paterson
    Malcolm Speed AO

    Email: law-masters@unimelb.edu.au
    Phone: +61 3 8344 6190
    Website: law.unimelb.edu.au

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 the 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: 23 July 2019