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Unit Overview


This unit will examine and analyse selected topics in private law through the lens of an overarching private law theme. Core areas of the private law from which topics will be drawn include contract, equity and trusts, torts and equitable wrongs, legal

theory, property, remedies, unjust enrichment and cognate statutory principles and regimes.

Topics drawn from these areas will be examined by reference to overarching themes, which aim to give conceptual coherence and rigour to the unit and learning experience. The emphasis will be on providing a research-led learning

experience which integrates theoretical, doctrinal, historical and practical perspectives to enable students to develop and interrogate a holistic understanding of the private law.

The chosen themes will vary from year to year to allow teachers to explore fully and to curate investigation of contemporary

issues and developments. They are likely to include themes such as:

a) the limits and importance of autonomy in private law;

b) the attribution of responsibility and liability in private law;

c) the need for coherence in the law;

d) the boundaries of private and public law; and

e) justifying private law and the related difficulties of transitioning high-level moral principles into specific legal rules.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) describe accurately and evaluate the nature, role and operation of identified private law topics by reference to the nominated overarching theme

; (2) evaluate the relationship between the identified private law topics by reference to the nominated

overarching theme; (3) integrate their knowledge of the identified common law, equitable and statutory concepts and principles

engaged by the private law topics, to identify inconsistencies and gaps in the private law's treatment of or response to the overarching theme; (4) identify opportunities for judicial and legislative reform of aspects of the private law, where relevant, in light of those comparisons; (5) engage in self-directed legal research to create an autonomous piece of original legal writing on a relevant topic for the unit

; and (6) communicate clearly in written form suitable for legal audiences an integrated understanding of the

complex legal principles, theories and frameworks concerning the identified private law topics and their

relationship to the overarching themes.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) research essay and (2) take home examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Elise Bant
Unit rules
Enrolment in
20820 Juris Doctor
and LAWS4101 Foundations of Law and Lawyering
and 30 points
, LAWS4102 Criminal Law
, LAWS4102 Criminal Law
, LAWS4103 Contract
, LAWS4104 Property
, LAWS4106 Torts
, LAWS4107 Land Law
, LAWS4108 Foundations of Public Law LAWS5103 Equity and Trusts and ( LAWS4109 Legal Theory and Ethics
or LAWS4110 Interpretation
Contact hours
Seminars: 3 hours per week for 12 weeks
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.