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GENL 2031 Cyberspace Law

[NB: GENL 2032 Cyberspace Law 2.0 replaced this course in July 2010.]


Session 1, 2010 -- 11:00 - 1:00 Mondays
UNSW Kensington,
Materials Science G11 (K-E8-G11)

Course home page - Course notes



The Cyberspace Law course consists of 12 classes from 11:00 - 1:00pm each Monday. The classes run without a break. The Timetable is available here.

The venue is at UNSW Kensington Campus, as specified at top of this page.


The course is coordinated and taught David Vaile.

David Vaile

UNSW Law Faculty
Room 153, Centres Precinct, Law Building F8, lower campus
t (02) 9385 3589
f (02) 9385 1778
e d.vaile [at] unsw.edu.au (email is the preferred communication channel, any other may require prior arrangement.)

Course Web site

This course Web home page is http://cyberlawcentre.org/genl2031/

It can be accessed from the Centre's home page.


Reading guides for most topics are available on line from the Cyberlaw course materials web site.There is no text book for the course. https://consult.galexia.com/extranet/cyberlaw/
(This is secured site for students only: username and password is provided in class, or by email.)

A useful introduction to the legal system for those with no prior understanding: Understanding the Australian Legal System, John Carvan, LawBook Co 2005. (University bookshop or library). We will not teach from this, but it, or something like it, is essential prerequisite knowledge if you do not have it already.

For students wishing to consider additional materials, the following may be of interest, particularly the first:

  • Yee Fen Lim, Cyberspace Law: Commentaries and Materials, 2nd edition, OUP Sydney 2007   ISBN 0-195558618 (library or University bookshop)

Update 1

Citation: strictly correct citation of legal cases and Acts is preferred but not obligatory in this introductory course. For those wishing to cite properly the accepted Australian standard is the Melbourne University Law Review Association's Australian Guide to Legal Citation, 3rd ed, Melbourne, MULRA (March 2010).



The assessment for this course consists of the two components below: a briefing note and a short problem-style research essay.

20% Case study submission of a short (one page) Briefing Note on a relevant case decision, to be allocated from a Case studies list to be provided in class and posted here.

Each student will be allocated a case from a list and provided with some background information.

The list of possible cases is available from week 3, and the Briefing Note must be submitted by the end of Week 9.

There is also a page explaining how to write such a case study.

You can choose your own case not on the list, but you must request to do this in writing, with the name and date of the case decision, the court and jurisdiction, and a working link the full text of the decision and reasons.

Cover sheet: So they can be properly identified, please attach to all submissions a standard Law Faculty Undergraduate Assignment Cover Sheet, available at the counter on level 2, via the law web site student page, or at this Cover Sheet link. If this is not attached, they may not be marked.

80% Research Essay of 2,500 words

The essay is typically an opportunity to provide advice to someone about how to deal with a hypothetical problem they have in the cyberlaw area, as if you are their legal advisor. You will need to refer to materials on a specific course topic, including cases or laws. A selection of Essay Topicswill be available, or you can select your own topic with prior approval from the course coordinator. The essay page also has notes about how to do the assignment.

Students must submit the essay by the end of Week 12 (4pm on Friday of last teaching week of term).

Please submit it, in hard copy (paper), to the Law School office counter on Level 2 of the new Law Building (F8). Make sure you keep a backup digital copy in case there is a problem with the paper version.

Cover sheet: Please attach a Law Faculty Undergraduate Assignment Cover Sheet to all submissions, available from the counter on level 2, via Law web site's student page, or at this Cover Sheet link.

Please retain a soft copy (digital file) of your submissions, created and last modified on or before the submission date, for 2 months after the due date, as a backup in case of mishap.


NB: you are welcome to consider an alternative being developed, namely an analysis of the Wikipedia Featured Article standard, a comparison with ordinary Wikipedia content (especially its unsuitability as a reference as to the truth of its contents) and, chiefly, a new Wikipedia page on an aspect or case in Cyber law which is a viable candidate for Featured Article status. Please discuss with the lecturer if you are interested. This is not an easier option!


This course will take a very strict approach to un-attributed copying and plagiarism in both the essay and the briefing note.

Note also that unless specifically justified only reputable published sources should be used as references. Anonymous online sources such as Wikipedia should be avoided as references to support the veracity of anything said there.

See other UNSW resources on how to avoid plagiarism.

Expression and standards

Note that a high standard of basic spelling, punctuation, grammar and clear English expression will be expected, suitable for copy that might be submitted to a popular publication. If you have difficulties in this area, please take extra care to review your material before submission, using all the available spelling and grammar checking aids in your software, as well as those available in hard copy -- for instance, Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss, Profile, 2005, a painless and humourous guide to good punctuation.

Other law general courses

See the Law General Education page for links to other general education courses.


URL of this page: http://www.cyberlawcentre.org/genl2031/