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Unit of study_

LAWS6313: Not-for-Profits, Philanthropy, and the Law

Intensive May, 2024 [Block mode] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit of study will introduce students to the legal framework in Australia governing not-for-profit (NFP) entities and charitable giving. It will critically examine the fundamental legal and regulatory issues raised by the unique status of NFPs including: the legal definition of charity and what constitutes a charitable gift; the nature of legal entities that comprise the NFP sector and vehicles for charitable giving; the tax treatment of NFPs and tax aspects of charitable giving; and the treatment of political advocacy and religion in charity law. Further information about this unit is available in the Sydney Law School timetable, unit of study outline and academic staff profile

Unit details and rules

Unit code LAWS6313
Academic unit Law
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Natalie Silver,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Final Exam (50%)
Open book. 1.5 hours plus 30 minutes reading time
50% Formal exam period 1.5 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Participation Structured Class Participation (20%)
Leading class discussion and answering questions on assigned topics
20% Ongoing Two topics
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Small continuous assessment In class quizzes (30%)
Short quizzes
30% Ongoing 2 quizzes, 25 minutes each
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3

Assessment summary

Structured Class Participation (20%)

This includes demonstrable preparation for seminars, asking and answering questions in class, contributions to general discussion and contributions to small group tasks. Students will be placed “on call” for two topics and are expected to have read the assigned material, speak to that assigned material in class, and be able to lead discussion and answer questions.  Only the highest mark for the two "on calls" will count towards the final mark. 


In class quizzes (30%)

There will be two in-class 25 minute quizzes designed to assess student understanding of topics covered to date: Quiz 1 will be held in Seminar 3 (30 April 2024) and Quiz 2 in Seminar 5 (14 May 2024). The format of the quizzes will be handwritten pen to paper in class. The final 30% mark will be awarded for the best mark received in the completed quizzes, i.e. the best result will count towards the final grade. Special Consideration may be made only if both quizzes are missed. Successful grants of Special Consideration may involve an alternate assessment task at the discretion of the unit coordinator, including a viva voce (oral) assessment.


Final exam (50%)

The Final Exam will be held on-campus and supervised during the formal exam period in June. It will be an open book exam (hard copy/printed materials only, no electronic devices). It is a handwritten pen and paper test. You will have 1.5 hours of writing time plus 30 minutes of reading time to prepare your responses. The outcome of a successful special consideration application is a replacement exam that may be delivered via an alternative assessment, such as a viva voce (oral test), that has been designed to meet the same learning outcomes as the original test. The format of the alternative assessment will be determined by the unit coordinator. The exam timetable will be released by the Exams Office in due course. 



Special consideration: Successful grants of Special Consideration may involve alternative tasks, as appropriate. 

Assessment requirements to pass a unit of study: A student must make a genuine attempt at all assessment tasks set out in this Unit of Study in order to obtain a Pass mark and grade (or above); otherwise an Absent Fail grade will be recorded as the student’s result for this Unit of Study. 


Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2021 (Schedule 1). 

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

• Completely answers the question.
• Contains striking originality of approach or analysis.
• Demonstrates exhaustive or innovative research (where independent research
• Exceptionally well written, structured and expressed.
• Is otherwise exceptional in some way.


75 - 84

• Completely answers the question.
• Achieves a critical and evaluative approach to the issues.
• Content and structure is well organised in support of the argument.
• Demonstrates extensive research and analysis to support a well-documented
• Generally well expressed and free from errors.
• Has a clear structure and is well articulated.


65 - 74

• Covers main issues fairly well in answering the question.
• Contains no significant errors
• Demonstrates an attempted critical approach to the issues.
• Demonstrates reasonably sound research and analysis in addressing the key issues.
• Has a clear structure and reasonably clear expression.


50 - 64

• Identifies the key issues, but does not follow through with a reasoned argument.
• Contains some significant errors.
• Displays satisfactory engagement with the key issues.
• Offers descriptive summary of material relevant to the question.
• Superficial use of material, and may display a tendency to paraphrase.
• Demonstrates little evidence of in-depth research or analysis.
• Adequate expression.
• Overall, demonstrates the minimum level of competence in the assessment and
satisfies the requirements to proceed to higher-level studies in the degree or subject


0 - 49

• Does not answer the question.
• Contains significant or numerous errors.
• Few or no identifiable arguments.
• Content that is inappropriate or irrelevant.
• Lack of research or analysis.
• Difficult or impossible to understand through poor grammar, expression or
• Overall, does not demonstrate the minimum level of competence in the

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Late penalties do not apply to quizzes, tests and exams.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

Support for students

The Support for Students Policy 2023 reflects the University’s commitment to supporting students in their academic journey and making the University safe for students. It is important that you read and understand this policy so that you are familiar with the range of support services available to you and understand how to engage with them.

The University uses email as its primary source of communication with students who need support under the Support for Students Policy 2023. Make sure you check your University email regularly and respond to any communications received from the University.

Learning resources and detailed information about weekly assessment and learning activities can be accessed via Canvas. It is essential that you visit your unit of study Canvas site to ensure you are up to date with all of your tasks.

If you are having difficulties completing your studies, or are feeling unsure about your progress, we are here to help. You can access the support services offered by the University at any time:

Support and Services (including health and wellbeing services, financial support and learning support)
Course planning and administration
Meet with an Academic Adviser

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week -01 Topic 1. Introduction to the unit; overview of the Not-for-profit (NFP) sector, including definition of NFPs and charities Topic 2. Charitable purposes and public benefit Seminar (5.2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 01 Topic 3. Theorising NFPs and charities Topic 4. Boundary issues: NFPs and government; NFPs and business; NFPs and politics Topic 5. Choice of legal form Seminar (5.2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 03 Topic 6. Governance of NFPs Topic 7. Regulation of NFPs Topic 8. Taxation of NFPs Seminar (5.2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 04 Topic 9. Overview of philanthropy in Australia, including giving vehicles Topic 10. Charitable gifts, including tax aspects of charitable giving Seminar (5.2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 05 Topic 11. Charitable bequests Topic 12. Ethics of philanthropy Seminar (5.2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: All students are required to attend at least 70% of classes to satisfy the pass requirements for each unit of study. Failure to meet this requirement may result in a student being precluded from submitting the final assessment. 

For units offered in Intensive mode, participation in all scheduled sessions may be expected by a Unit Coordinator in order to satisfy the requirements of the unit. 


Referencing: The Sydney Law School expects you to use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (4th edition, 2018) for your footnoting style, although you should confirm this with your lecturer, and a link to the library website where this is set out comprehensively is available at Referencing and Citation Styles: AGLC4  


Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

O’Connell, A. Taxation of Charities and Not-for-profits (LexisNexis 2020)

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Identify and apply relevant legal principles of Australian not-for-profit law from case law, statutes, and secondary sources when engaging in class discussion and responding to assessment tasks.
  • LO2. Critically analyse the legal and regulatory issues and practical contexts relating to not-for-profit entities and the not-for-profit sector to advise on not-for-profit law problems arising in class discussion and assessment tasks.
  • LO3. Formulate persuasive legal arguments synthesising knowledge of not-for-profit law and regulation when engaging in class discussion and responding to assessment tasks.
  • LO4. Work collaboratively to produce professional advice in relation to contemporary not-for-profit legal issues.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Unit running for the first time in 2024.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.