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Disability Human Rights Law (LAWS90087)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeLAWS90087
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject examines the human rights of people with disabilities. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) is the newest United Nations (UN) human rights treaty. This subject analyses the interpretation and implementation of the CRPD. It also explores the effect of multiple forms of marginalisation; for example, individuals with disabilities that are members of other minority groups, such as women, transgender people or racial minorities. This subject is relevant for students who are interested in reform in this area or for those interested in exploring the newest iteration of UN human rights law.

The lecturer has both personal and professional experience in this field and has a network of collaborators, including UN bodies, government actors, community groups, academics and others. She draws on her experiences and connections to deliver substantive law as well as provide an insight into the lived experience of disability.

Principal topics include:

  • Personhood and the right to equal recognition before the law
  • Decision-making and the right to legal capacity
  • Violence and the right to freedom from abuse
  • Mental health and the rights to liberty and consent to treatment
  • Universal design, reasonable accommodation, and accessibility
  • Medical, social, and human rights models of disability.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the emerging and diverse field of disability human rights law and its role in international and domestic spheres
  • Have an understanding of recent developments in the disability human rights field, including the most recent UN body statements and relevant international and domestic court cases
  • Knowledge of the rights-based research paradigm and the importance of co-production and emancipation in disability research methodology
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to analyse international and domestic law, policy and practice in relation to the rights of people with disability
  • Have the cognitive and technical skills to responsibly apply the disability human rights framework to lived experiences of disability
  • Have the ability to interpret and distil the knowledge and analysis gained in the course for a broad audience, particularly policy makers and other agents of change.
  • Have the sensitivity and skill to communicate research findings and complex legal analysis to the disability community and key stakeholders
  • Be able to demonstrate autonomy, creativity and responsibility as a legal practitioner in the field of disability human rights.

Eligibility and requirements


Melbourne Law Masters Students: None

JD Students: None



Non-allowed subjects

Students who have completed any of the below subjects are not permitted to take LAWS90087 Disability Human Rights Law:

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
LAWS90004 Disability Human Rights Clinic

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

  • Take-home examination (5,000 - 6,000 words) (100%) (21 - 24 June)
  • 8,000 - 10,000 word research paper (100%) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator (31 July)

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

  • May
    Principal coordinatorAnna Arstein-Kerslake
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours24-34 hours
    Total time commitment150 hours
    Pre teaching start date10 April 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 period 8 May 2019 to 14 May 2019
    Last self-enrol date15 April 2019
    Census date 8 May 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail21 June 2019
    Assessment period ends31 July 2019

    May contact information


    Dr Anna Arstein-Kerslake, Coordinator

    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

Last updated: 20 July 2019