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Children and the Law - JURD7492
 Law Books

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  School of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 4
Excluded: LAWS1630
Fee Band:   (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


This course covers a wide range of legal issues that affect children. Topics include child development, theories of children's rights, legal representation of children, juvenile justice, care and protection, the Stolen Generation, domestic and inter-country adoption, child care, education, international child abduction, child soldiers, children and the built environment and consent to medical treatment. The course will be taught in a small group with significant student participation, allowing students the opportunity to develop their ideas and their ability to analyse issues critically. There are a number of guest lecturers who work with children and are able to give students an insight into the current debates in children's policy, as well as demonstrating how students can work with children on the completion of their law degree. There is an excursion to the Children's Court. Assessment is by way of class participation and a long research essay on a topic of the student's choice.

Relationship to other course offerings and the overall program(s) in the discipline:
There is no pre-requisite for this course, however for students with an interest in Family Law, Criminal Law, Criminology, Torts, Human Rights or International Law, this course allows further exploration of those areas with specific reference to children.

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Course Objectives

Students are expected to achieve the following learning outcomes:
  • Understand children's needs
  • Identify the ways in which law can affect children's lives
  • Think critically about different philosophical approaches to children's rights
  • Recognise the institutions and people who exert power or influence over children
  • Identify the ways in which law and policy can protect children from abuses of that power
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of international treaties and domestic legislation designed to protect children
  • Demonstrate an ability to think critically and to justify ideas in a reasoned manner
  • Communicate effectively, in speaking and in writing
  • Gain an understanding of the possible career paths available for lawyers interested in working with children
  • Identify appropriate areas for legal research
  • Conduct advanced level legal research and writing

Main Topics

  • Child development
  • Children's rights
  • Juvenile justice
  • Care and protection
  • International child abduction
  • Domestic and inter-country adoption
  • Legal representation of children
  • Children and medical treatment
  • Children and education
Note: These topics are subject to change if necessary to accommodate guest lecturers.


Compulsory, non-maximisable class participation: 20%
Research essay: 80%

Course Texts

Children and the Law reading materials volumes 1-5, available from University Bookshop

Specialist children's law periodicals held in the UNSW Library.
Articles dealing with children's issues may also be found in family law, medical law, immigration law, consumer law journals.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.