LAWS 7051 Elder Law

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 201066

Coordinator Richard Mccullagh Opens in new window

Description Whilst Elder Law has been an acknowledged speciality for many years in countries such as Canada and the United States of America, it is only in the last two decades that it has gained recognition in Australia. This subject examines law, theories and issues relevant to an ageing community. The legal issues are examined in a broad social, cultural and ethical context. Issues of legal capacity relevant not only to the law of contracts but also to medical treatment and end of life decisions are considered. Similarly, the law relating to areas of special importance to the elder community such as age discrimination, pensions, retirement villages, wills and estate planning are also discussed.

School Law

Discipline Law, Not Elsewhere Classified.

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Postgraduate Coursework Level 7 subject

Pre-requisite(s) Students enrolled in 2826 Juris Doctor must have successfully completed subjects LAWS 7072 and LAWS 7047 and students enrolled in 2824 M Laws must have successfully completed LAWS 7078 before enrolling in this subject


Students must be enrolled in 2826 Juris Doctor or 2824 Master of Law.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate the legal, policy, moral and practical issues concerning Substitute Decision Making for older people;
  2. Analyse the legal, policy, moral and practical issues that may concern older people in relation to discrimination, abuse, accommodation and retirement finances and estate planning;
  3. Provide advice in relation to elderly community interests and disputes;
  4. Display clear and logical arguments in responses addressing legal issues relating to ageing community;
  5. Assess ethical issues arising in Elderly law practice and the professional responsibilities of lawyers in promoting justice and service to the community.

Subject Content

  • Policymaking and The older person
  • Legislation affecting older persons
  • Role of The guardianship division of NCAT
  • Role of The NSW trustee and guardian
  • Role of The public guardian
  • Substitute decision making
  • Elder Abuse
  • Discrimination
  • Accommodation Issues
  • Medico-legal Issues associated with aging
  • Privacy and Confidentiality
  • Grandparenting
  • Financial Issues
  • Multicultural issues associated with ageing, including issues experienced by Indigenous people
  • Making or not making A will
  • Family provision


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Quiz 10 minutes per quiz 10 N Individual
Essay 2,500 words 40 N Individual
Professional Task 20 minutes 40 N Individual
Participation Ongoing 10 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

  • Richard McCullagh, Australian Elder Law: Accommodation, Agency and Remedies in Australia (Thomson Reuters, 2018)

Teaching Periods

Spring (2023)



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Spring (2024)



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