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Strategic Public Advocacy & Civil Society - JURD7315
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Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  School of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Postgraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 4
Enrolment Requirements:
Prerequisite: LAWS1001 and LAWS1011; Corequisite: LAWS2311.
Equivalent: JURD7317, LAWS3315, LAWS3317
Excluded: LAWS3315
Fee Band:   (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


Civil society, non-government organisation (NGOs), community and not-for-profit organisations are playing an increasingly important role in society, both nationally and internationally. At the same time, the place of this sector in the democratic process is also a contested area – a fact that is explored in the course. Legal practitioners, particularly in the civil society sector, are often called upon to lead, or contribute to public advocacy campaigns, and because of the increasing significance of the sector, their work on behalf of their organisations and stakeholders needs to be of a high professional and ethical standard. The course aims to provide the skills required to conduct public advocacy campaigns, in the context of a pluralistic democratic model, as well as developing students' ability to critically evaluate the public policy process. It also provides an introduction to the theoretical framework of democratic models, which are being contested in Australia today.

Note: The course JURD7317 Strategic Public Advocacy for Civil Society (4 UOC) will be taught in conjunction with this course during the first 3 days.

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Course Objectives

For students to acquire:
  • Basic knowledge of how to develop and deliver public advocacy campaigns
  • Relevant practical skills, such as writing media releases, lobby documents, and campaign plans
  • Knowledge of legal, political, and informational tools to assist in developing and delivering successful public advocacy campaigns
  • The ability to strategically evaluate public advocacy campaigns
  • The ability to critically analyse of the public advocacy process in Australia
  • An understanding of the role of civil society in a democracy, and of different contested models of democracy

Main Topics

  • Theories of democracy and how they relate to civil society
  • Methods of defining civil society and the significance of the sector in Australia today
  • Introduction to a planning template for developing a successful public advocacy campaign. Combining this project management approach with dynamic creativity.
  • Critical examination of two major campaigns in the areas of environment and international development
  • Lobbying – how to do it. Federal Government mechanism relevant to affecting the public policy process.
  • The media, freedom of the press in Australia and writing a media release
  • Public opinion polling, FOI, whistleblower legislation, SLAPP writs
  • Using information technology for advocacy
  • Use of international human rights mechanisms to further domestic advocacy campaigns
  • Assessing the effectiveness of public advocacy campaigns


Class participation (20%)
Take-home exam (20%)
In-class test (15%)
Essay (45%)

Course Texts

A course reader will be distributed at the first class. As well, supplementary material may be supplied throughout the course. Because of the cross-disciplinary nature of the course, there is no set textbook.

Students are encouraged to read widely, in the light of the template that makes up the core of the course, in administrative law, media studies, public relations, political science, and public interest litigation. A list of recommended readings will be available in the full course outline.

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© The University of New South Wales (CRICOS Provider No.: 00098G), 2004-2011. The information contained in this Handbook is indicative only. While every effort is made to keep this information up-to-date, the University reserves the right to discontinue or vary arrangements, programs and courses at any time without notice and at its discretion. While the University will try to avoid or minimise any inconvenience, changes may also be made to programs, courses and staff after enrolment. The University may also set limits on the number of students in a course.