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Law, Justice and Social Change (SOLS20001)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeSOLS20001
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Law, Justice and Social Change examines the ways in which law can be seen and used as both an instrument of positive social change and yet also as a means of confirming existing social arrangements and resisting social change. Through a series of case studies, it critically reflects on the key goals of law reform (such as access to justice and equality) and different ways of understanding what constitutes a just outcome. It looks at a selection of issues such as gender politics, ethnicity, race, disability, indigenous politics, class and economic struggles and sexual orientation and social dissent. There is also a strong practical component to the subject - students learn about the law reform process and choose a current law reform issue to consider in light of the issues discussed in the subject and interview a staff member from a community legal centre or government body involved in writing a report or submission that advocates for legal change. These organisations have in the past included the Human Rights Law Centre, Youthlaw, Victorian Council of Social Services, YACVic, Liberty Victoria, the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, JobWatch, Berry Street, the Federation of Community Legal Centres. the Mental Health Legal Centre, amongst others.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject students should:

  • Be able to examine the ways in which law can be seen as both an instrument of positive social change and yet also a means of confirming existing social arrangements and resisting social change;
  • Be able to explore theoretical perspectives on law, justice and the community;
  • Critically analyse a series of case studies concerning the struggles for access to justice and involvement in legal processes and institutions by particular groups and individuals;
  • Consider a selection of issues such as gender politics, ethnicity, race, indigenous politics, sexual orientation, class and economic struggles, social dissent and the experience of non-English speaking background individuals;
  • Work productively in groups.

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

Criminology, Sociology or Socio-Legal Studies at Level 1

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


Additional details

  • A 2000 word research assignment, due mid semester (50%).
  • A 2000 word research assignment (Law reform submission), due during the examination period (50%).
  • Hurdle requirement: Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.
  • Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10 marks per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorClaire Loughnan
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours24 hours: 1 x 2 hour seminar per week for 12 weeks.
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 2 June 2019
    Last self-enrol date15 March 2019
    Census date31 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail10 May 2019
    Assessment period ends28 June 2019

    Semester 1 contact information

Time commitment details

Total of 170 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Readings will be provided online through the subject's LMS site prior to the commencement of semester.

  • Subject notes

    Available as a Breadth subject to non-Bachelor of Arts students

  • Breadth options
  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 10 August 2019