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Commercial Law in Practice (LAWS90059)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeLAWS90059
Availability(Quotas apply)
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject will examine, from an advanced and specialist point of view, the rules, principles and practices of commercial law. An underlying theme will be the way in which the different academic categories of law blend and interact in the commercial world.

Topics covered include:

  • the legal building blocks of commercial law – for example sale of goods, loans, guarantees, hire;
  • the commercial transfer of assets – for example sale of goods, assignment of contractual rights and novation;
  • common commercial contract clauses and their significance; Standard and alternative financing techniques;
  • issues of substance and form in commercial transactions, including the Personal Property Securities Act;
  • practical aspects of executing commercial transactions; and
  • how corporate insolvency influences the structure of commercial transactions.

This subject aims to equip students with an expert knowledge of the major areas of law within the field as well as integrating new practical skills, including those involved in planning a transaction, reviewing documents, assessing the interplay and implications of common law and statutory regimes.

Within the various topics, students will also consider a comparative law analysis.

Intended learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this subject will have developed a solid grounding in the building blocks of commercial law and will understand the various competing interests and issues that drive the way in which commercial transactions are structured and implemented.

Students will also gain experience in how case law, legislation, contractual terms, regulator guidance and commentary, and legal market practice can combine to influence the terms and structuring of commercial transactions. In particular, students will: 

  • have training in areas they will encounter in commercial legal practice in Australia, including in identifying legal and commercial risk and drafting and critiquing complex commercial documents;
  • understand the interplay of commercial, legal and regulatory considerations involved in assessing the issues and risks in a commercial transaction;
  • have a detailed understanding of financing and commercial structuring techniques that are used not just in Australia but in the international commercial markets generally; and
  • learn how to analyse case law, regulator guidance and commentary, and market practice.

Generic skills

On completion of the subject students should have developed and demonstrated their skills as follows:

  • cognitive skills to demonstrate mastery of theoretical knowledge and to apply that knowledge (including core legal principles and concepts studied in compulsory JD subjects) in the context of the practice of commercial law;
  • specialist understanding, interpretation, critical reflection and synthesis of legislation and cases relating to commercial law in Australia;
  • technical skills in relation to designing and analysing complex legal structures and issues, as well as communication skills in relation to advising legal and non-legal audiences on such structures and issues, as demonstrated in the interim assessment task;
  • technical skills in relation to analysing the elements and competing legal and commercial imperatives in complex commercial transactions, as demonstrated in the problem-solving exercises in the examination; and
  • communication skills effective for the delivery of complex concepts to a diversity of specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Eligibility and requirements


Successful completion of all the below subjects:

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
LAWS50023 Legal Method and Reasoning
Summer Term
LAWS50025 Torts
Semester 1
LAWS50026 Obligations
Semester 1
LAWS50029 Contracts
Semester 2
LAWS50030 Property
Semester 1



Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • 2,000 word written advice / transaction review (40%);
  • 2 hour open book exam held during the main examination period (60%).

The due date of the above assessment will be available to students via the Assessment Schedule on the LMS Community.

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

  • Semester 2
    Principal coordinatorHal Bolitho
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours36
    Total time commitment144 hours
    Teaching period29 July 2019 to 27 October 2019
    Last self-enrol date 9 August 2019
    Census date31 August 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail27 September 2019
    Assessment period ends22 November 2019

    Semester 2 contact information

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

Additional delivery details

This subject has an enrolment quota of 60 students. Your subject enrolment will not be confirmed until the selection process has been run. Selection is conducted on a random basis with outcomes communicated to students shortly after re-enrolment closes. Please refer to the Melbourne Law School website for more information on the JD Quota Elective selection process.

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    • Australian Finance Law 7th Ed, King & Wood Mallesons, Thomson Reuters.
    • Specialist materials will also be made available from Melbourne Law School.
  • 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: 12 September 2019