Lawyers, Ethics and Justice - LAWS1230

Faculty: Faculty of Law

School: Faculty of Law

Course Outline: See below

Campus: Sydney

Career: Undergraduate

Units of Credit: 6

EFTSL: 0.12500 (more info)

Indicative Contact Hours per Week: 4

Enrolment Requirements:

Pre-requisite: 24 UOC completed in LLB courses or 24 UOC completed in Juris Doctor courses.

Excluded: JURD7110, JURD7130, LAWS1210

CSS Contribution Charge: 3 (more info)

Tuition Fee: See Tuition Fee Schedule

Further Information: See Class Timetable

View course information for previous years.


Lawyers, Ethics and Justice is a compulsory core course in applied legal ethics. It examines the structures, rules and values that enable ethical practice for lawyers.

The course explores ethical issues that arise in professional practice, and the regulations and standards that govern them. Importantly, it considers these issues and principles in their wider and dynamic contexts. These contexts include the history and workings of the legal profession and its rapidly changing political, social and economic circumstances. They also include the diverse and demanding environments in which contemporary lawyers work.

Lawyers, Ethics and Justice addresses, in particular, the responsibilities of lawyers in maintaining the integrity of the justice system. In doing so, students will analyse the roles lawyers do and should play in this system, and relate them to the values and routine skills lawyers have, or should have, to ensure effective and just outcomes.

The course is also designed for students to evaluate the conduct of lawyers, the nature of ethical practice, and the pursuit of justice in light of their own identities and values. Students are asked to consider what acting in accordance their values would mean for their own professional lives.

During the course, students will start to develop the skills they will need to engage in ethical legal practice, including those to: identify and resolve ethical dilemmas and failures; work with colleagues and other professionals to institute and maintain ethical work practices; recognise and manage the diverse needs and interests of clients; and integrate often competing duties to clients, the workplace, the profession, the judicial system and society. This course combines interactive teaching, group work, and a clinical component in which students work with clients and lawyers at UNSW Law's Kingsford Legal Centre.


  1. Personal values and attributes, ethics and legal professionalism
  2. Cultural constructions of lawyers, ethics and justice
  3. History and changing status of the legal profession
  4. Access to justice
  5. Legal culture and the workplace
  6. Questions of morality
  7. Professional duties and rules
  8. Lawyers' accountability
  9. Client duties and skills
  10. Ethics at the Criminal and Civil Bars
  11. Negotiation and ADR
  12. Recognising and resolving ethical problems
  13. Globalisation of law and legal practice in the region
  14. Clinical experience at KLC

Recommended Prior Knowledge


Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course, students should be able to:
  1. Demonstrate awareness of the principles of legal ethics and their relationships to the role of lawyers and the legal profession in society;
  2. Critically analyse the status, purpose and workings of the legal profession in light of its wider and changing context;
  3. Produce scholarly written and oral work that demonstrates knowledge of the course concepts, critical judgment and reflection on the course themes, and the synthesis of practical and scholarly interdisciplinary research sources;
  4. Demonstrate effective oral communication skills by debating course themes and concepts in a scholarly, reflective and respectful manner;
  5. Apply legal and ethical principles to hypothetical fact scenarios and other contexts, including within a community legal centre practice;
  6. Demonstrate client skills, including interviewing, ethical duties and cultural awareness;
  7. Work effectively in teams and reflect on how their values and interpersonal styles influence team work;
  8. Engage in the process of ethical judgment in context;
  9. Reflect on how their own values might influence ethical legal practice; and
  10. Demonstrate self-management through self-assessment of performance and use of previous feedback received in the course.


Class Participation 15%
Kingsford Legal Centre Report 15%
Seminar Presentation and Handout 30%
Final Examination 40%

Course Texts

Parker, C and Evans, A, Inside Lawyers’ Ethics, 2nd ed (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
Baron, P and Corbin, L, Ethics and Legal Professionalism in Australia , (Oxford University Press, 2014)

Ebejer, M, Legal Practice and Ethics (LexisNexis, 2013)
Ross, Y and MacFarlane, P, Lawyers’ Responsibility and Accountability: Cases, Problems and Book Commentary, 4th ed (LexisNexis, 2011)
Dal Pont, G, Lawyers’ Professional Responsibility, 5th ed (Thomson Reuters, 2012)

Study Levels

UNSW Quick Links