Studying online

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Unit Overview


This unit examines the law relating to wills, estates, intestacy and family provision. The unit includes analysis of the definition and nature of a will, formal requirements of a will, construction of wills, vitiating factors affecting testators and beneficiaries, revocation, republication and revival of wills, legacies and devises, intestate succession, administration of estates of deceased persons and family provision after death.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Students are able to (1) demonstrate at an advanced level knowledge of (a) the law of succession; (b) the Wills Act 1970 (WA) as amended; (c) testate and intestate succession; (d) the elements of a claim against an estate for further provision by an eligible person for some or further provision from an estate; (e) the Family Provision Act 1972 (formerly the Inheritance (Family and Dependants Provision) Act 1972) and the recent changes to the Act; (f) the policy and reform issues that are relevant to succession law; and (g) international, national and comparative perspectives on Western Australian Succession Law; (2) critically demonstrate (a) the ability to reflect upon and respond to ethical issues arising in succession law particularly in the area of Moral Duty and its application in the Family Provision Act 1972 (WA); and (b) a developing ability to exercise professional judgement with regards succession issues; (3) critically demonstrate the ability to (a) identify and articulate complex issues that arise in succession law; (b) apply legal reasoning to solve hypothetical succession problems, in particular developing and explaining arguments in resolving issues; and (c) engage in critical analysis of succession law legislation and scholarship, including the changes and reasons for change made by the Wills Amendment Act 2008; (4) identify, research, critically evaluate and synthesise the factual, legal and policy issues arising in succession law and demonstrate sophisticated cognitive and creative skills in generating appropriate responses to justify conclusions and professional decisions; and (5) demonstrate an ability and willingness to (a) participate and contribute to seminar discussion; and (b) present arguments in ways that are effective, appropriate and persuasive to legal and non-legal audiences.

Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) class participation; (2) written assignment; and (3) 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)
Dr John Hockley
Unit rules
Enrolment in
20810 Doctor of Juridical Science
LAWS5187 Succession Law
Contact hours
3 hours per week
Reference texts

Dal Pont, G. E. and Mackir, K. F. Law of Succession: LexisNexis Butterworths 2013

Atherton, R. F. and Vines, P. Succession, Families, Property and Death: Text and Cases, 2nd edn: LexisNexis Butterworths 2003

Hockley, J. J. et al. Wills Probate and Administration Service (Western Australia): Butterworths 1999+ (loose-leaf and online)


Administration Act 1903 (WA) (especially ss 12A–15)

The Family Provision Act 1972 (WA) [formerly the Inheritance (Family and Dependants Provision) Act 1972 (WA)]

Trustees Act 1962 (WA)

Wills Act 1970 (WA) (as amended) by the Wills Amendment Act 2008 (WA)

  • 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.