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Public Interest Law Clinic (LAWS50116)

Graduate coursework level 5Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Overview

Year of offer2018
Subject levelGraduate coursework Level 5
Subject codeLAWS50116
Campus
Parkville
Availability(Quotas apply)
Semester 1
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject provides practical experience in which students support lawyers in public interest organisations in the delivery of legal services to the community. Students will undertake 12 days of clinical placement with a partner organisation in the community or government sector. On placement, and under supervision, students will utilise the legal knowledge and skills acquired during their degree to undertake work on legal issues with real clients, and in doing so, will be exposed to the realities of legal practice. The placement will be through regular, scheduled attendances throughout semester.

Prior to commencing with their host organisation, students will participate in two days of intensive orientation to prepare for their placement, including learning new legal practice skills and about specific areas of law where relevant. This will be complemented by seminars during the placement period. In these seminars, students will reflect on their ongoing clinical experience. This combination of practical placement and academic support will allow students to consider and reflect on the broader contexts in which legal issues arise, the lawyer's role and relationship with the delivery of justice and contemporary developments in professional practice.

A central component of the subject is that students critically reflect on their practical experience of public interest lawyering. The reflection serves several purposes. First, it gives students the opportunity to consider how the issues and ideas raised in the context of public interest lawyering are reflected in their practical experience in this area of law. On an individual level, it also provides students with the opportunity to reflect on their own use of legal skills, knowledge and approach to practice and consequently build on these skills, knowledge and competencies.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who successfully completes this subject will have a sophisticated insight into, and be able to reflect critically and meaningfully on:

  • The practical and technical skills and ethical awareness needed to practise effectively in the public interest sector, including in the areas of interviewing and counselling, research, advocacy, communication, file management and organisation;
  • The ethical questions that arise from practising public interest law;
  • The scope, composition, capacity, limits and challenges of the legal assistance sector in Australia;
  • The techniques of public interest lawyering and the differences between public interest lawyering and other forms of lawyering; and
  • The capacity of law and lawyers to create social, economic and political change.

Generic skills

Upon successful completion of the subject, students will have developed and demonstrated the following skills:

  • Interpersonal and communication skills to gather information, understand context, and convey legal concepts to a non-legal audience (including clients) in a way that is useful and effective;
  • Cognitive skills in understanding the significance of the interrelationship of facts and law, and an appreciation of the place for legal and non-legal responses to clients' problems;
  • Cognitive and technical skills relating to the generation and provision of legal advice and information attuned to clients' needs;
  • Skills required for effective workplace performance, such as communication, time management, and office organisation;
  • Ability to work cooperatively and professionally in a legal assistance organisation; and
  • Ability to engage in analysis and critical reflection on a range of challenging questions arising from practical legal experience in the public interest sector.

Eligibility and requirements

Prerequisites

Only approved applicants can enrol into this subject.

Successful completion of all the below subjects:

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
LAWS50023 Legal Method and Reasoning
Summer Term
12.5
LAWS50024 Principles of Public Law
Semester 1
12.5
LAWS50026 Obligations
Semester 1
12.5
LAWS50027 Dispute Resolution
Semester 1
12.5
LAWS50028 Constitutional Law
Semester 2
12.5
LAWS50029 Contracts
Semester 2
12.5
LAWS50031 Legal Theory
Semester 2
November
12.5

Corequisites

None

Non-allowed subjects

None

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home

Assessment

Additional details

  • Hurdle Requirement: Attendance at all orientation and clinic sessions and satisfactory performance on placement;
  • Oral presentation, in weeks 9-12 of semester (15%); 10 minutes
  • Reflective journal, usually 4 entries due at regular intervals during the teaching period (25%); 1500 words
  • Legal writing, at end of semester (60%). 3500 words

The due date of the above assessment will be available to students via the Assessment Schedule on the LMS Community.

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorKate Fischer-Doherty
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours116 hours comprising 2 days of orientation, 12 days of clinical placement, 14 hours of seminars
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period21 February 2018 to 27 May 2018
    Last self-enrol date15 October 2017
    Census date31 March 2018
    Last date to withdraw without fail 4 May 2018
    Assessment period ends22 June 2018

    Semester 1 contact information

    Graduate Services Coordinator (Work Integrated Learning)

    Email: law-wil@unimelb.edu.au
    Phone: +61 3 8344 4475
    Website: law.unimelb.edu.au

  • Semester 2
    Principal coordinatorKate Fischer-Doherty
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours116 hours comprising 2 days of orientation, 12 days of clinical placement, 14 hours of seminars
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period16 July 2018 to 21 October 2018
    Last self-enrol date15 October 2017
    Census date31 August 2018
    Last date to withdraw without fail21 September 2018
    Assessment period ends16 November 2018

    Semester 2 contact information

    Graduate Services Coordinator (Work Integrated Learning)

    Email: law-wil@unimelb.edu.au
    Phone: +61 3 8344 4475
    Website: law.unimelb.edu.au

Additional delivery details

This subject has a quota of 60 students (30 students per availability). Applications will be assessed by the Subject Coordinator and students will be asked to attend an interview. Please refer to the JD LMS Community for more details.

Taught on campus and through a clinical placement at a host organisation.

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    • Specialist printed materials will be made available from the Melbourne Law School.
Last updated: 14 March 2019