• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Classification Specialist
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law

This course explores how law and policy is shaping and being shaped by digital economies. Big technology companies dominate the stock exchange and Fortune 500. Mobile apps support mega marketplaces, supported by seamless online payments systems. Gig economy networks are disrupting traditional service and employment models. This ecosystem is fueled by data. Our every movement, search, post, sentiment, purchase, and deletion is saved, scraped, stored, analysed, and sold. Our personal information is being harvested and fed back to us. Topics include:

  • Defamation on social media
  • Industrial relations in gig economies
  • The supreme court of Facebook
  • Accountability of algorithms
  • Smart contracts in financial markets
  • Crypto-bubbles and Ponzi schemes

The legal and policy challenges to be examined include deciding jurisdiction, identifying participants, antitrust regulation, monitoring taxable events and financial surveillance.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Investigate and critically evaluate how the law and policy is shaping and being shaped by digital economies.
  2. Reflect critically on the legal ramifications of automating legal relationships and decision-making.
  3. Explore and review the legal principles and rules applicable to cryptocurrencies, digital assets and smart contracts.
  4. Critically analyse and assess the dispute resolution mechanisms developed by online marketplace providers and social media platforms.
  5. Undertake legal research and present findings which evaluate how e-business models have disrupted employment and business arrangements and relationships.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Contributions to online blog (800 words x 3 blogs; 2,400 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Quiz (20) [LO 1,2,3]
  3. Research essay (3,800 words) (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 26 hours of teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours. Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week. Click here for the LLM Masters Program timetable

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Master of Laws (7300XLLM, MLLM), Master of Laws in Migration (NLLML), Master of Laws in International Law (NLLIL), Master of Laws in Environmental Law (NLLEN), Master of Laws in Law, Governance & Development (NLLGD), Master of Laws in International Security Law (NLLSL), Master of Laws in Government and Regulation (NLLGR), Master of Legal Practice (MLEGP); OR Juris Doctor (7330XJD, 7330HJD or MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses; OR Graduate Certificate of Law (CLAW) and have completed or be completing LAWS8586 Law and Legal Institutions; OR Graduate Certificate of New Technologies Law (CNTL) OR Master of Military Law (MMILL) Students undertaking any ANU graduate program may apply for this course. Enrolments are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the ANU College of Law for permission number.

Prescribed Texts

PA Ryan, Trust and Distrust in Digital Economies (Routledge, 2019)

Preliminary Reading

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately 2 weeks prior to the commencement of the course


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4320
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Summer Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
1570 22 Feb 2021 22 Feb 2021 05 Mar 2021 23 Apr 2021 Online View

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4629 26 Jul 2021 27 Jul 2021 06 Aug 2021 24 Sep 2021 Online View

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions