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Disability Human Rights Clinic (LAWS90004)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeLAWS90004
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Disability Human Rights Clinic will analyse and report on rights violations experienced by people with disabilities and will propose solutions. The clinic will have an interdisciplinary focus bringing together the fields of disability studies and international human rights law.

Students will undertake 12 days of clinical work at Melbourne Law School. Students will participate in a range of clinical projects including legislative submissions, amicus briefs, shadow reporting, and others. Students will be taught lawyering skills in persuasive writing, organisational collaboration, and advocacy.

The clinical work will be complemented by 18 hours of seminars (1.5 hours each clinic day). Through lecture and discussion, students will acquire substantive knowledge in international human rights law, disability rights law and disability studies. During the classes, students will also reflect on their ongoing clinical experience.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who successfully completes this subject will be able to analyse and reflect critically and meaningfully on:

  • The practical, interpersonal, technical skills and ethical awareness needed to practise effectively in a team of legal researchers, including in the areas of collaborative work, research, communication, file management and organisation;
  • their capacity for learning from experience;
  • the sources, breadth and effectiveness of the laws for addressing the challenges faced by individuals with a disability;
  • the parameters of human rights frameworks in the context of the disability movement; The application of disability human rights frameworks to legal regimes;
  • the most effective methods for conducting legal research in international human rights databases and sources;
  • best practice techniques for the production of policy and legal documents that analyse and apply disability human rights;
  • the availability and appropriate use of legal processes and different areas of law to a variety of client problems;
  • the capacity and role of law and lawyers to create social, economic and political change;
  • the multi-disciplinary approaches to clients’ dilemmas – including recognition of the non-legal aspects of clients’ problems and the ethical responsibilities of legal practitioners in advising across these non-legal aspects; and
  • effective methods for collaboration with external stakeholders including Disabled People's Organisations, international NGOs, civil society organisations and international human rights bodies (e.g. United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).

Generic skills

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

  • Thinking skills, including the ability to gather information, understand interests and context, apply knowledge and convey complex legal concepts to a non-legal audience in a way that is useful and effective;
  • applied research skills, including the ability to identify, research, evaluate and synthesise relevant factual, legal and policy issues in the context of a complex and emerging area of law;
  • legal practice skills, including critical legal analysis, legal writing and drafting of policy documents;
  • personal and professional skills, including learning autonomously, being accountable for one’s work, self-reflection on performance and ethical professional conduct and development;
  • skills required for effective workplace performance, such as communication, time management, co-worker collaboration and office organisation; and
  • research and reflection skills, the ability to engage in high-level analysis and critical reflection, and to develop and articulate legal reform ideas for social change based on theoretical and empirical knowledge of the operation of the law.

Last updated: 12 September 2019