law500 disability and the law




Credit points: 15

Subject outline

People with disabilities encounter significant inequity and discrimination as they seek to exercise their rights as equal citizens to participate in society and access services and community facilities. In this subject, students will evaluate the effectiveness of the international and Australian legal frameworks aimed to establish, protect and support the exercise of rights for people with disabilities.The organising frame for the subject are the rights embedded in the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the legal mechanisms for their enactment in Australia.

SchoolLa Trobe Law School

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorDarren O'Donovan

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 5 - Masters

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Must be enrolled in: Master of Advanced Disability Practice (HMADPO) Graduate Diploma in Advanced Disability Practice (HGADPO) Graduate Certificate in Advanced Disability Practice (HCADPO) Juris Doctor (LMJD) Master of Laws (LMLAW)


Incompatible subjects LAW5DAL.

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Learning resources


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsRestoring voice to people with cognitive disabilities. Realising the right to equal recognition before the law.RecommendedArnstein-Kerslake, A. (2017)Cambridge University Press
ReadingsA quantum leap towards social rights for people with intellectual disabilitiesRecommendedBigby, C., & O Donovan, D, (2018 in press)Sydney: Federation Press

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Compare and contrast the role of various agencies in safeguarding the rights of people with cognitive disabilities.

Students to undertake online reading, and view online video resources. Engagement in discussion forums will assist with learning

02. Critically evaluate evidence for how people with disabilities and their supporters experience the justice system.

Research recent examples of experiences of people with disabilities within the justice system and critically evaluate the nature of those experiences.

03. Interpret and transmit information about current anti-discrimination laws that support people with cognitive disabilities and their support network.

Reading about anti-discrimination laws to be undertaken, along with online forum discussions to assist clarification of concepts and student interpretation.

04. Critically examine specific types of legislation in Australia that aim to enact the rights of people with disabilities embedded in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD

Readings about current Australian disability policy, and key articles of the UNCRPD to allow students to compare and contrast these legislations. Further learning via forum discussions and assessment (below).

05. Make informed judgements to appeal, through the proper channels, the support provided for a person with cognitive disability.

Review various scenarios including past Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) cases or Federal cases involving disability support plan appeals. Students to interpret findings and apply to a new scenario to argue for change of plan.

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2019, Semester 2, Online


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorDarren O'Donovan

Class requirements

Unscheduled Online ClassWeek: 31 - 43
One 10.0 hours unscheduled online class per week on any day including weekend during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via online.

Scheduled Online ClassWeek: 31 - 43
Three 1.0 hours scheduled online class every three weeks on any day including weekend during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via online.


Assessment elementComments%ILO*
Agency Infographic (equivalent to 1800-words)The infographic will demonstrate the different agencies and their comparison.2001
Human Rights Essay (2,000-word equivalent)Select one group of people with disabilities and consider the effectiveness that one aspect of their human rights are protected or furthered by a selected piece of Australian legislation.4002, 03, 04
NDIS Plan Appeal (2,000-word equivalent)Select a scenario and prepare an appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to appeal for a change to a plan developed by the NDIS for a person with cognitive disability. Sections of the NDIS legislation used in the appeal are to be made explicit.4004, 05