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  3. Not-for-Profits, Law and the State

Not-for-Profits, Law and the State (LAWS90055)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeLAWS90055
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Not-for-Profits, the law and the state is a hot topic. As the government retreats from the direct provision of social welfare and public goods, and as not-for-profits seek as never before to integrate commerce and advocacy with their traditional purposes, much attention is being focused on not-for-profit law. These profound developments also suggest that not-for-profit law is becoming as important to contemporary societies as corporations law or administrative law. In this subject, we will look in depth at the key elements of this critical body of law and on the relationship between the state and the not-for-profit sector. We will reflect on important questions raised by not-for-profit law in its contemporary setting, questions relating to the definition of charity, the taxation of not-for-profits, and not-for-profit regulation. We will adopt comparative, theoretical and practical perspectives in working through these questions. The subject will be taught by two of Australia’s leading not-for-profit law experts.

  • The legal definition of charity in Australia and other analogous jurisdictions
  • The public benefit test and recent developments in the law of public benefit in Australia and abroad
  • The extent to which not-for-profits can undertake for-profit activities and member benefit arrangements
  • The treatment of religion in charity law
  • The treatment of political advocacy in charity law
  • The tax treatment of not-for-profits from a critical perspective
  • Not-for-profits and discrimination on grounds like race, religion and sex
  • A comparative examination of the regulation of the not-for-profit sector.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the legal principles of Australian not-for-profit law, including recent developments in this field of law and practice both in Australia and in other jurisdictions
  • Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess legal rules, principles, policies and doctrines relating to not-for-profits, law and the state
  • Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field, such as the treatment of political advocacy in charity law, not-for-profits and discrimination, and the tax treatment of not-for-profits
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of the factors and processes driving not-for-profit law reform and regulation of the not-for-profit sector
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to not-for-profit law and practice, and to critically evaluate existing legal theories, principles and concepts with creativity and autonomy
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to not-for-profit law and practice.

Last updated: 20 July 2019