Media Law: Contempt and Open Justice (LAWS5151)


The daily practice of journalism is affected by a range of common law principles and statutory provisions. This unit of study seeks to examine some of the most significant, practical constraints on the media. It examines in detail contempt of court, the principle of open justice and suppression orders. It considers contempt of parliament and other restrictions of the reporting of parliamentary proceedings. It also analyses the law relating to the disclosure of journalists' sources and the impact of freedom of information laws on the media. This unit of study seeks to provide not only a thorough doctrinal analysis of these areas of law but also seeks to locate them within their broader historical, international, comparative, political and policy contexts.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


2 x 2-hr seminars/week for 10 weeks


Four options: 1) 2,500wd assignment (30%) and 2 hr exam (70%); 2) 3,500wd essay (40%) and 2 hr exam (60%); 3) 2,500wd assignment (30%) and 3,500wd essay (40%) and 1hr exam (30%); or 4) 3 hr exam (100%). Subject to change.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


LAWS3059 or LAWS3451

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.