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The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is an innovative new system for providing disability supports in Australia. It will provide funding to approximately 460,000 Australians with permanent and significant disability for supports they need to achieve their goals. Students in the NDIS and Disability Benefits Clinic will assist people with disabilities, their families and carers to navigate this new system and access the supports they are entitled to. Clinic activities may include: providing one-to-one advice and legal assistance to individual clients; conducting legal education sessions for groups of clients; and assisting professional advocates and lawyers at partner organisations with individual and systemic NDIS advocacy work. Students will be engaged in all aspects of the Clinic’s operation and will work under the guidance and supervision of the Clinic Supervisor to provide information and resolve issues presented by clients. The NDIS and Disability Benefits Clinic will enhance students’ understanding of the NDIS Act and other disability benefits-related law and practice and will also develop fundamental legal skills of general application such as public engagement, client interviewing, file and practice management, research and writing. Examples of matters that may be dealt with by the Clinic include: accessing the NDIS, obtaining adequate supports from the NDIS, challenging decisions made under the NDIS Act and legal issues relating to the disability support pension.
Students will be required to undertake an intensive orientation, including viewing pre-recorded lectures and attending a 2 hour zoom seminar in the week before the start of semester. Much of the substantive course content will then be covered in the first few weeks of semester, preparing students to commence and focus on clinic activities from week 5, with further lectures and guest speakers in later weeks as appropriate. Lectures will be a mix of pre-recorded videos and live zoom presentations. Students will be required to attend a zoom seminar of 60 to 90 minutes each Friday morning, for group discussion of the week’s topic/s, practical skills-building exercises and legal supervision of clinical work. Students will also take part in individual supervision and debrief sessions with an MLS academic and the Clinic Supervisor, where students will evaluate their progress and discuss their reflections on the law in practice and their own role.
Intended learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject students will have:
- Developed client-facing advocacy skills
- Gained knowledge of disability rights and relevant domestic legislation
- Experienced engagement with partner organisations
- Developed the ability to apply disability rights principles to individual client situations
- Developed the ability to draft legal briefs and other documents essential for legal practice.
Upon successful completion of the subject, students will have developed and demonstrated their skills in the following areas:
- Working collaboratively to develop legal documents.
- Persuasive legal writing.
- Understanding and application of disability rights and domestic legislation.
- Critical legal analysis.
- Working in the unique context of disability.
- Collaboration with community legal centres and disability organisations
- Client interaction.
Last updated: 1 June 2021