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Law, Lawyers and Society - LAWS1210

Faculty: Faculty of Law
School:  Faculty of Law
Course Outline: See below
Campus: Kensington Campus
Career: Undergraduate
Units of Credit: 6
EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)
Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 4
Enrolment Requirements:
Currently enrolled in a program in the Faculty of Law.
Excluded: JURD7110
CSS Contribution Charge:Band 3 (more info)
Further Information: See Class Timetable


This course is a course in applied legal ethics. It examines the different values, rules and regulations that affect legal practice. Students will (1) learn to identify the values, rules and norms that lawyers should apply in practice; (2) judge what roles lawyers do play in society and the justice system, and what roles lawyers ought to play; (3) identify and begin to develop the skills necessary for ethical practice. The course considers the lawyer-client relationship, the regulatory framework governing legal practice including the role of self-regulation, the role of lawyers as advocates including the responsibility of lawyers for access to justice and the special duties and roles of the criminal defence lawyer, the prosecutor, and the public interest lawyer.

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Course Objectives

This course will teach students to:
  • Recall the central facts and legal principles established in case law we have studied
  • Explain in your own words the meaning of legal concepts, doctrines and principles we have studied
  • Analyse case law
  • Identify the approach of judges in decision-making
  • Identify legal issues in a hypothetical fact situation
  • Apply legal principles to a hypothetical fact situation
  • Evaluate the impact of judgments on people's conduct and affairs
  • Demonstrate an ethical understanding of the nature of law
  • Demonstrate your ability to think critically and to justify your ideas in a reasoned manner, rather than purely by way of dogmatic assertions or emotional responses
  • Communicate effectively in speaking and in writing

Main Topics

  • Lawyers and clients: communication, representation and advice; interviewing skills; lawyers' fees and costs; representation; aspects of practice
  • Lawyers' duties and regulation: admission to the legal profession and legal education; self-regulation, competition and reform; the disciplinary process; the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner; duties of competence and care; fiduciary duties
  • Advocacy and justice: negotiation skills; ethics in negotiating; access to justice; poverty and public interest lawyering; the adversary system and fairness and candour in civil litigation; duties of prosecutors and defence lawyers in criminal trials


Class participation - 10%
Kingsford Legal Centre report - 15%
Seminar presentation and handout - 15%
Take home exam - 60%

Course Texts

Y. Ross & P. MacFarlane, Lawyers' Responsibility and Accountability: Cases, Problems and Commentary (Butterworths, 2007).

Refer to Course Outline provided by lecturer.

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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.