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Most legal thinking needs to be communicated in a written form. For legal advice to be useful and effective for clients, it needs to be able to be readily understood by people without a background in the law. It also needs to address the issues which are important to the recipient of the advice. The practice of law also involves the use of technical legal documents such as contracts. For these legal documents to be effective and to achieve the aims of the parties to whom they relate, they should be prepared by someone with expert legal drafting skills.
The focus of this subject is on the development of the specialised skills needed for legal drafting. This crucial aspect of legal practice requires a broad set of skills including the ability to explain complex ideas using clear and simple language, the ability to understand the relative importance of various legal issues, attention to detail and structure, and an ability to properly appreciate the purpose and audience of the document.
Legal Drafting enables students to develop this set of skills in an interactive manner. Topics covered will include understanding the types of drafting styles, drafting legal advice, presentation of legal advice, persuasive legal drafting, legal drafting in workplaces outside of law firms, and drafting technical legal documents. Students will be required to prepare a variety of types of written legal work which would be typically required in a legal workplace.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed the subject will have:
- An extended understanding of the attributes of good legal drafting in a variety of workplaces and contexts;
- Developed an expert capacity to identify the skills and techniques available to achieve a better legal drafting style;
- Applied those skills and techniques in the drafting of written legal advice and technical legal documents such as contracts to a high-level; and
- Developed the ability to critically reflect on their written work.
Through the development of these cognitive and technical skills, students will develop the ability to:
- Independently synthesise complex legal issues into a clear written form suitable for commercial contexts;
- Prepare technical legal documents;
- Independently assess and improve on their own legal drafting and that of others; and
- Communicate their legal thinking to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
Students who successfully complete this subject will understand and have developed:
- Advanced technical skills in preparing clear written legal work in a variety of workplaces and contexts;
- Communication skills necessary to convey complex ideas and arguments in clear and concise language;
- Expert judgement and creative skills necessary for understanding and drafting contracts and other similar technical legal documents; and
- Cognitive skills necessary to reflect critically and meaningfully on their performance of the above tasks.
Last updated: 2 December 2019