Graduate Diploma in Global Competition and Consumer Law
What will I study?
What you will learn
Economic theories, principles and methods that underpin and influence competition and consumer policy and law
Central to this field is economics. You will develop a solid understanding of and an ability to apply key economic frameworks and techniques relevant to the policy, law and enforcement in this field.
Legal rules that govern competition and consumer protection in major jurisdictions around the world – particularly the United States, European Union, and parts of the Asia-Pacific region
You will also gain valuable insights into the political economy of competition policy and its intersection with international trade, as well as other aspects of how competition law works in a globalised world.
Institutions that develop, administer and enforce competition and consumer policy and law
You will examine the challenges and dynamics influencing institutions that administer and enforce competition and consumer laws – principally competition and consumer authorities, but also central prosecutorial agencies, tribunals and courts.
To gain a Graduate Diploma (Global Competition and Consumer Law) you must complete 50 points comprised of:
- Four elective subjects.
*Please note: 'Foundations - Competition Law and Economics' is a prerequisite for other online subjects in the course.
In addition to the online subjects, there are four on-campus courses available:
- Australia Consumer Law
- International and Comparative Competition Law
- Competition in Healthcare
- Competition in New Technology.
This will vary depending on the individual student’s background in the area and capacity. However, on average students will need to allocate around 6-8 hours ‘study’ time (including reading, watching videos, completing exercises and interactives, discussion board participation, participating in webinars, etc) per week, in addition to time required to complete assessments. The total time commitment required for each subject over a term will be 150 hours.
To help you plan your studies please see the following link for information about which subjects are available each term over the next two years and outlines a recommended study sequence for the LLM (Global Competition and Consumer Law) and Master of Global Competition and Consumer Law courses.
You can also study single subjects to contribute to your professional development. For more information, please contact Student Support.
Benefits of Onine Study: "After a career spanning politics and the classroom, head of investigations at the competition commission of Mauritius dipped his toe in online study".
-By Serpil Senelmis
Sudesh Puran works at the Competition Commission in Mauritius, he’s currently leading the investigative team which looks into abuse of dominance cases and the conduct of market studies. Sudesh was motivated to enrol in the online Graduate Diploma in Global Competition and Consumer Law (GCCL) at the University of Melbourne (UoM), as he was keen to learn about the application of competition law in other jurisdictions.
When it came to be deciding where to study “the choice was straight forward,” says Sudesh.
“There are not many, if any, university programs on competition law which are offered online. I found that the University of Melbourne (UoM) program was well-designed and offered a more pragmatic and flexible approach to learning competition law."
Despite being tested from time to time, Sudesh has nothing but praise for the GCCL program.
This online course has allowed me to acquire a prestigious academic qualification from a world class university for my professional development, which otherwise would not have been possible.
“I find the academics and teaching experts to be very accessible. I believe that the course has been designed in such a way which helps students who are not exposed to competition assessment to have a better grasp of the subject matter as well as for those who are practitioners to challenge and improve their understanding and knowledge.”
When it comes to endorsing the program for others, there isn’t even a hint of hesitation from Sudesh.
“I would certainly recommend this program to anyone looking to gain knowledge of competition law and practitioners who wish to enhance their knowledge and application of the subject matter. The program, developed by world-leading experts, guarantees professional development through convenient and flexible mode of learning.”
Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this diploma.
- Foundations: Competition Law & Economics12.5
Foundations: Competition Law & Economics
Competition Law is an area of law with mixed legal-economic content. The central disciplinary underpinning of competition law is economics. It is therefore essential that those practising in this field, whether as legal advisors to business, competition authority staff, or members of tribunals or courts have a solid grounding in the economic theories, concepts and techniques that underpin the policy, law and enforcement in this field.
This foundational subject introduces students to the history and spread of competition law across the world over the last century and to the range of objectives, influenced by various economic schools of thought, that have informed its development in different places and at different times. It ensures that students are well-versed in core economic vocabulary, concepts and frameworks and the ways in which they are translated into categories of legal prohibitions and enforcement approaches, common to all competition systems.
The subject sets the foundation for the course, providing crucial groundwork that will equip students to confidently tackle the economic content of the remaining subjects in greater detail. While the subject includes material with basic numerical equations, examples and diagrams, it does not require students to have advanced mathematical or statistical background knowledge or skills.
Highlights of the subject include:
- Practical application of economic concepts and techniques through problem-based learning activity; and
- Expositions and insights from leading economists and practitioners on various aspects of economics and the role of economists in competition law and practice.
Cartel conduct is regarded as anathema to competitive markets and consumer welfare. Such conduct encompasses various forms of collusion or collaboration between competitors, the most serious of which involve fixing prices, diving markets, restricting output and rigging bids. These categories of collusion have been shown to raise prices, reduce quality and choice, and stifle business responsiveness and innovation. They are also hard to detect, prosecute and deter. Tougher anti-cartel laws and sanctions have been a high priority for competition authorities for at least the last decade. While there is a high degree of consensus around the world as to the core tenets of the prohibitions applicable to serious cartel conduct, there is a vigorous discourse amongst authorities, practitioners, business and academics regarding the most effective approaches to sanctioning and enforcement.
At the same time, not all agreements between business rivals are anti-competitive or detrimental to consumer welfare. Some, such as joint ventures or distribution agreements, may be driven by efficiencies or may be welfare-enhancing in other ways. Competition laws and their enforcement therefore need to distinguish between different types of conduct involving competitors based on their economic rationale and likely effects.
This subject refreshes and expands understanding of the economic principles relevant to collusion (or horizontal restraints) that were introduced in the first subject in the course (Foundations: Competition Law & Economics). Students examine critically and in-depth the main prohibitions and exemptions or defences that apply to cartel conduct and other types of collaboration between competitors. They explore who should be held liable for such conduct (companies and/or individuals) and what approaches are or should be taken to sanctioning (administrative and/or criminal). Finally, students explore and assess the effectiveness of the policies and tools that competition authorities deploy in detecting, prosecuting and deterring cartels, as well as learn about and analyse the vigorous debates that relate to private actions for damages arising out of such conduct.
Highlights of the subject include:
- Critical examination of the approaches taken to the design and application of cartel laws and sanctions, drawing on examples from different jurisdictions around the world;
- Use of the rich body of theoretical and empirical research relating to cartel conduct as well as analysis of actual cases and competition authority policy documents and guidelines to aid this examination; and
- Insights and perspectives from leading stakeholders such as competition authority officials and practitioners to assist students in grappling with the challenges posed by the design and enforcement of anti-cartel rules.
- Competition Law in a Globalised World12.5
Competition Law in a Globalised World
This subject will examine in depth the implications of the transnational features and effects of mergers, unilateral conduct, cartels and other business activities for the design and enforcement of competition law and policy . Students will examine rules governing extraterritorial jurisdiction, discovery, recognition and enforcement of judgments, and extradition in the international competition law context. They will learn about the ways in which competition authorities cooperate with each other and the roles played by regional and international organisations and networks. The subject also canvasses the relationship between competition and trade policies, and the particular challenges facing small and developing economies in a globalised world.
Highlights of the subject include:
- Critical examination of how tensions between considerations of national sovereignty and international comity arise in the competition law context
- Exploration and critique of the ways in which governments and competition authorities are seeking to meet the enforcement challenges posed by anti-competitive conduct that has multi-jurisdictional effects
- Consideration of the strategic opportunities and challenges for multinational business organisations in managing competition law risks
- Special focus on the increasing significance of competition policy, law and enforcement in international trade and regulation and the implications for small and developing economies
- Insights and perspectives from leading stakeholders such as competition authority officials and practitioners to assist students in grappling with the challenges posed by the design and application of competition policies and rules in cross-border settings
- Consumer Protection12.5
This subject will examine the policy objectives underpinning consumer protection laws, including the intersection between consumer and competition policies. Students will develop a clear understanding of the key areas of regulation, including various forms of misleading and deceptive conduct, unfair practices and contract terms regulation, consumer guarantees and warranties, and product liability and safety regulation. They will examine key enforcement tools and mechanisms for consumer redress, focusing particularly on the challenges posed by e-commerce, and explore the often complex institutional arrangements involving national and international bodies, as well as non-governmental organisations, in this field. This subject is international and comparative in its scope and draws on examples from a wide range of jurisdictions around the world, but with a particular focus on consumer policy, law and enforcement in the Asia-Pacific region.
Highlights of the subject include:
- Critical examination of the policy objectives and priorities underpinning, and the approaches taken to the design and application of, consumer laws, including variations between developed and developing countries in this context
- Case studies that illustrate the practical challenges associated with enforcing consumer laws, with particular emphasis on the issues that arise in the context of growing international trade and e-commerce
Insights and perspectives from leading stakeholders such as consumer enforcement authority officials, intergovernmental and nongovernmental officials and practitioners to assist students in developing a sophisticated appreciation of the issues facing the development and practice of consumer law and policy, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
This subject will provide students with an in-depth understanding of the legal rules and economic principles that underpin the review of mergers and acquisitions and the types of information and analyses used to assess the competitive effects of these transactions. Students will examine how ‘special’ cases, such as joint ventures, failing firms, strategic and minority stakes, and creeping acquisitions are dealt with, and will learn about the procedures used by competition authorities and the strategies employed by merger parties in the review context.
Highlights of the subject include:
- Critical examination of the approaches taken to the design and application of merger laws, review processes and remedies, drawing on examples from different jurisdictions around the world;
- Use of the rich body of theoretical and empirical research relating to mergers as well as analysis of actual cases and competition authority policy documents and guidelines to aid this examination; and
- Insights and perspectives from leading stakeholders such as competition authority officials and practitioners to assist students in grappling with the challenges posed by the design and enforcement of merger rules and processes.
This subject examines the challenges and dynamics influencing the institutions that administer and enforce competition and consumer laws. It also explores the role of international institutions in promoting or enforcing competition law and policy and their various structures and modes of influence. Although the subject’s focus is on competition and consumer authorities, the nature and role of central prosecutorial agencies, tribunals and courts are also examined. Students will be challenged to engage with a range of institutional issues including agency models, mandate, governance structures, investigative tools and processes, enforcement, compliance and advocacy and evaluation of effectiveness. Students will undertake an in-depth case-study on a competition or consumer-related body and critically analyse an aspect or aspects of its design, operation or performance against the principles developed in this subject.
- Unilateral Conduct12.5
One of the means by which firms may behave anti-competitively is by engaging in unilateral conduct that damages the competitive process and consumer welfare. Such conduct may be described in various ways in different jurisdictions, including as monopolisation, abuse of dominance or misuse of market power. However, the rules that apply to it share a common aim, namely to target conduct by firms with market power that is likely to harm competition and reduce consumer welfare.
Anti-competitive unilateral conduct generally involves conduct by a firm that has substantial or monopoly/monopsony power in a market and uses that power to implement a strategy that is likely to harm competition. Debates and divergence between jurisdictions in relation to unilateral conduct relate to the level of power that should trigger legal prohibitions, the types of strategies that are likely to have anti-competitive effects and how such effects should be established and assessed. In recent years, such debates have focussed on conduct by large firms in the information technology sector.
This subject explores the approaches used by competition authorities to address anti-competitive unilateral conduct. Differences in approach between jurisdictions are critically analysed. Building on learning in previous subjects, the subject examines what is meant by unilateral market power and the conditions that enable unilateral power to be used to implement an anti-competitive strategy. Unilateral conduct that gives rise to a competition concern may take various forms, the most common categories of which are analysed in detail in this subject. Such categories include conduct involving refusals to supply and predatory pricing. However, a difficulty in addressing anti-competitive behaviour of this type is that it is not readily distinguishable from highly aggressive competition. Given this, various tests that have been used and the evidence relevant to making this distinction are examined. Seminal decisions by competition authorities and courts as well as industry case studies are used to provide insights into the competition analysis of unilateral conduct.
Highlights of the subject include:
- Critical examination of the approaches taken to the design and application of unilateral conduct laws, drawing on examples from different jurisdictions around the world;
- In-depth case studies of unilateral conduct in a range of industry sectors with a view to ensuring students can properly analyse the rationales for such conduct and assess their likely effects on competition; and
- Insights and perspectives from leading stakeholders such as competition authority officials and practitioners to assist students in grappling with the challenges posed by the design and enforcement of unilateral conduct rules.
- Australian Consumer Law12.5
Australian Consumer Law
Australia has a detailed and comprehensive consumer protection regime dealing with the supply of goods and services, including financial products, to consumers. Primary legislation is the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), found in Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth); equivalent provisions in the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth) (ASIC Act) applying to financial services and products; and, for consumer credit, the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (NCCP Act). This subject provides students with a detailed knowledge of key features of the Australian Consumer Law and of the common law principles and policy imperatives that underpin it. The lecturers include one of the Law School’s private lawyers with specialist expertise in consumer law, and a leading practitioner in this field of law.
Principal topics include:
- Purposes of consumer protection law
- The regulatory toolkit
- Common law doctrines underlying the legislative regime
- Enforcement and remedial strategies.
- Key consumer protection regimes under the ACL, ASIC Act and NCCP Act:
- Misleading or deceptive conduct
- Unconscionable conduct
- Interest rate caps and responsible lending
- Consumer guarantees and implied terms
- Unfair contract terms.
- Competition and New Technologies12.5
Competition and New Technologies
The high-tech sector represents an increasingly important part of the world economy and is challenging the boundaries of orthodox competition law rules and approaches. Many of the most significant cases adjudicated by competition authorities around the world involve high-tech corporations (Microsoft, Intel, Google, Apple, etc). The high-tech industry is highly dynamic and raises particularly complex issues that need to be addressed by competition lawyers. This subject will grapple with these issues at a sophisticated level so that students understand the complex legal and economic challenges raised by the new economy. The lecturer is one of the world’s leading experts in this field. He has been involved in some of the most significant high-tech cases as a partner in international law firms in Europe, as an expert witness in numerous arbitration and litigation proceedings, and as an academic, currently with posts at Tilburg University, George Mason University and University College London.
Principal topics include:
- The role of innovation as a goal of competition law
- The influence of dynamic efficiency in competition law rule design and application, including in the areas of market definition, merger review and exemptions
- The intersection between competition law and intellectual property rights, specifically as it arises in the high-tech sector
- The intersection between competition law, consumer protection and privacy law, specifically as it arises in the high-tech sector
- Competition law issues in multi-sided markets, including, for instance, search engines and the internet economy
- Competition law issues raised by disruptive business models, such as Uber and Airbnb
- Major cases, including the United States and European Union Microsoft cases, the EU Qualcomm case, the US Apple e-book case and the EU Google case.
- Competition in the Healthcare Industry12.5
Competition in the Healthcare Industry
Governments strive to constrain runaway health care costs through competitive markets. This can be lucrative for private players and competition authorities are increasingly called upon to investigate commercial practices in the health care industry. The competition analysis must still take account of significant government and philanthropic service providers. Further, health care markets are susceptible to market failure due to information asymmetries, adverse selection, moral hazard and principal-agent problems. This subject explores the application of competition law to a broad range of such health care markets in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, with insights that will be generalisable to many other jurisdictions.
The teachers in the subject are from leading international law firm Jones Day and have many years of experience specialising in the application of competition law to the health care sector, advising clients and government agencies, and training government officials.
Principal topics include:
- Introduction to competition law and economic concepts in the context of the healthcare industry
- Health professionals and competition law
- Private health care facilities and competition law
- Public health care facilities and competition law
- Health insurance and competition law
- Competition issues arising from intellectual property protections and therapeutic good approval requirements
- Industry self-regulation and participation in government processes.
- Internat and Comparative Competition Law12.5
Internat and Comparative Competition Law
This subject will provide students with international and comparative insights into a field of growing significance to practitioners in Australia and the region. While the subject will focus on the federal antitrust law of the United States (‘US’) and the competition law of the European Union (‘EU’), we will examine also the extent to which these two regimes provide models for other regimes, with particular attention paid to the Anti-Monopoly Law of the People’s Republic of China ‘(PRC’). The subject will explore how competition laws are justified, and the extent to which different regimes converge and diverge, and the reasons for this. An understanding of the US and EU regimes will equip students to analyse the likely responses to anti-competitive actions in many other regimes, and the focus on China will be particularly useful to students within the Pacific region.
Principal topics will include:
- The policy foundations of, and history of approaches to, antitrust law in the US and competition law in the EU
- The structure of the two regimes, the role of competition authorities, and the role of public and private enforcement
- Comparative analysis of the substantive laws relating to agreements and multi-lateral anti-competitive conduct (s 1 of the Sherman Act, and article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’))
- Comparative analysis of the approach taken to cartels, with an examination in particular of differing enforcement methods (civil and criminal)
- Comparative approaches to the treatment of oligopolies, with particular reference to the concept of ‘conspiracies’ in the US, and ‘concerted practices’ in the EU
- Comparative approaches to the control of monopolisation and dominant firm abuse (s 2 of the Sherman Act and article 102 of the TFEU), with particular reference to pricing conduct (excessive, predatory and discriminatory pricing practices)
- The development, structure, and application of competition law in the PRC, including a consideration of the challenges facing new regimes
- Comparative approaches to merger control in the US, EU and PRC, with particular reference to the establishment of jurisdiction, the operation of the substantive test, and the application of remedies
- Jurisdiction, extra-territoriality, and bi-lateral and multi-lateral cooperation mechanisms in the application of competition law