2018 Summer School Subject List

Media Law: Defamation and Privacy (LAWS5128) - Opens 03 Oct 2017

Faculty: Law (Sydney Law School)
Department: Law
Level: Postgraduate
Credit Points: 6

(1) Associate Professor David Rolph - david.rolph@sydney.edu.au

(1)  Professional Law Programs  - Law.professional@sydney.edu.au
(2) Associate Professor David Rolph - david.rolph@sydney.edu.au

Start Date: 08 Jan 2018 
End Date: 17 Jan 2018 
Capacity: 30 
Status: Places available 
Applications Open: 03 Oct 2017 
Applications Close: 08 Dec 2017 
Census date: 02 Feb 2018 
On-time withdrawals close: 02 Feb 2018 
Available to audit: No
Open to HSC graduates?: No


  1. Assumed Knowledge: - 

    LLB completion of all years 1 – 3 LAWS compulsories.. JD completion of all 1st year compulsories.

  2. Note: - 

    All enrolments are subject to approval by the Sydney Law School.

  3. Note: - 

    Enrolment is restricted to University of Sydney Bachelor of Laws students only.


This unit of study analyses two areas of law which have a significant impact on the daily practice of journalism. Both of these areas of law relate to the personal interests of private plaintiffs and the legal recourse such plaintiffs may have against media outlets. The tort of defamation, which protects a plaintiff’s reputation, is a well-established cause of action which notoriously has a “chilling” effect on what the media publishes. By contrast, direct legal protection of privacy against invasions by the media is a rapidly developing area of law in Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the European Union.

This unit of study provides a detailed examination of the principles of defamation law relating to liability, defences and remedies. It also examines how different common law legal systems are developing direct legal protection for individuals’ privacy against intrusive media coverage.

This unit of study provides a thorough doctrinal analysis of defamation, privacy and breach of confidence, as well as placing these areas of law in their broader historical, international, comparative, social and cultural contexts.


1 x 2,500 word problem-based assignment; 1 x 2 hr open book examination


Start Date: 08 Jan 2018     End Date: 17 Jan 2018


Mon 9:00 - 18:00

Tues 9:00 - 18:00

Wed 09:00 - 13:00

Final Exam

Mon 12th Feb, 14:00 Start (2hr exam & 30 mins reading time)


Rolph et al, Media Law: Cases, Materials and Commentary, 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, 2015.