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  3. Current Issues in Civil Litigation

Current Issues in Civil Litigation (LAWS70202)

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

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 7
Subject codeLAWS70202
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Civil litigation is experiencing unprecedented levels of reform. Legislative changes, court decisions, changes to court rules and economic pressures are changing the way litigation is practised across the common law world. The proper roles of parties, lawyers, judges and courts are under scrutiny and discussion. The focus of this subject is current and significant issues in civil litigation, with an emphasis on new and emerging developments.

Andrew Higgins is an Associate Professor in Civil Procedure at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, and a Fellow in Law at Mansfield College. He is also a practising barrister specialising in mass tort litigation and General Editor of Civil Justice Quarterly.

Bernie Quinn is a Queens Counsel at the Victorian Bar who practices in a wide range of areas including commercial law, public law and product liability law. He speaks Bahasa Indonesian and was an Associate to Justice Michael Kirby. The subject will include guest lecturers drawn from the judiciary and the profession.

Principal topics include:

  • Significant procedural reforms in Australia and overseas
  • Law reform proposals
  • The role of the judge, including case management trends
  • Principles of apprehended bias
  • ‘Overarching’ obligations of participants in the civil justice system
  • Summary and interim relief
  • Discovery
  • Client legal privilege
  • Expert evidence
  • Procedural issues in conflict of laws
  • Procedural issues in collective redress
  • Costs and funding rules
  • Appeal processes
  • Enforcement
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Online dispute resolution and its impact on civil procedure.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the elements of and current issues in civil litigation
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess these elements and issues
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding contemporary and emerging issues 
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the factors driving recent reforms in civil procedure
  • Have an advanced understanding of the practical effects of reforms and current practices on civil litigation
  • Have a detailed understanding of critical elements in civil litigation processes
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to possible future reforms and methods to deal with current problems in civil litigation procedure
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse aspects of civil procedure
  • Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding civil procedure both to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Be able to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field.

Last updated: 20 August 2019