University of Technology Sydney

76069 Law and Justice Studies

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Law
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): 70617 Administrative Law
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses.
There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.
Anti-requisite(s): 94680 Entering Professional Life (6cp) AND 94681 Entering Professional Life (8cp)


This subject introduces students to the dynamics of law reform and community engagement. Students experience the practice of community-based law through a placement with a social justice agency. In their placement, students gain experience and understanding of the ethics of practice, the legal needs addressed by the agency, and access to justice issues for disadvantaged individuals and communities. Depending on the requirements of participating organisations students may review and assess the impact of legislation and legislative reforms on vulnerable populations, undertake research and write reports on specific legal issues related to the practice of the agency, interview clients under the supervision of practicing lawyers, develop creative legal education materials and prepare case summaries.

Students develop legal skills such as self-management, a practical understanding of the rules and practice of professional legal responsibility, the practice of ethical behaviour in a social justice context, and collaboration with colleagues, community groups and government agencies. Students develop communication and research skills through undertaking research on complex legal issues to generate appropriate theoretical and practical legal responses.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Appraise and critique law, legal processes and access to justice issues in a contemporary social justice context
2. Exercise professional judgment and apply ethical standards including honesty, integrity, and accountability during the course of the placement
3. Think critically, strategically and creatively when evaluating complex legal issues and generating appropriate responses
4. Communicate and collaborate professionally and effectively with colleagues and clients
5. Engage in appropriate self-management by undertaking self-directed work, exercising judgment and accountability, and using feedback from peers, agency staff and the lecturer to continually develop professional legal skills

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes which reflect the course intended learning outcomes:

  • Legal Knowledge
    A coherent understanding of fundamental areas of legal knowledge, including the Australian legal system, social justice, cultural and international contexts and the principles and values of ethical practice (LAW.1.0)
  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility
    A capacity to value and promote honesty, integrity, accountability, public service and ethical standards, including an understanding of approaches to ethical decision-making, the rules of professional responsibility and an ability to reflect upon and respond to ethical challenges in practice (LAW.2.0)
  • Critical Analysis and Evaluation
    A capacity to think critically, strategically and creatively, including an ability to identify and articulate legal issues, apply reasoning and research, engage in critical analysis and make reasoned choices (LAW.3.0)
  • Communication and Collaboration
    Effective and appropriate communication skills, including highly effective use of the English language, an ability to inform, analyse, report and persuade using an appropriate medium and message and an ability to respond appropriately (LAW.5.0)
  • Self management
    The ability to implement appropriate self-management and lifelong learning strategies, including initiating self-directed work and learning, judgment and responsibility, self assessment of skills, personal wellbeing and appropriate use of feedback and, a capacity to adapt to and embrace change (LAW.6.0)

Teaching and learning strategies

Strategy 1: Student preparation and self-directed learning: Students prepare for their practice based learning placements by completing self-directed work outside of the classroom. Before attending the first class, students are required to study a selection of book chapters and journal articles posted on UTSOnline that introduce the concept of social justice and ethical lawyering and consider the challenges inherent in the practice of social justice. Questions to guide student reading will be posted on UTSonline prior to O week. , Before attending the first class students are strongly encouraged to peruse the websites of participating agencies to familiarise themselves with information about potential placements. From their reading and perusal of the websites of participating agencies, students are encouraged to identify problems that may arise in their selected placements and consider how these could be resolved. These activities are designed so that students can evaluate their understanding of the knowledge and ideas about the practice of social justice and to provide a basis for active participation in discussions with agency representatives in the first two classes, in the drafting of a Learning Contract, and during the course of placement and in their final presentation and report. As part of preparation students can post questions on the Discussion Board on UTSOnline to seek clarification and feedback on their understanding of the work of the agencies and the ethical practice of social justice. The Discussion Board is monitored by staff and students are encouraged to collaborate and engage with the discussion. Participating in these discussions will improve students’ ability to understand the ways in which social justice agencies operate and enhance their practice based learning experiences.

Strategy 2: Introductory classes: The ability to understand the practice of social justice and think critically, strategically and creatively about the application of the law to contemporary legal issues in a real world context are essential academic and professional skills for law graduates. Representatives from each of the participating agencies address students in the first two weeks of session on the ethics of practice, the legal needs addressed by the agency, and access to justice. Preparation activities and interactive discussions with agency representatives in class in the first two weeks of session provide students with the opportunity to enhance their understanding of the practice of social justice.

Strategy 3: Placements and learning contract:

From the third week of session students undertake practice based learning with their selected agency. Students meet with the agency representative to develop a draft Learning Contract setting out the work that will be undertaken by the student, the resources that will be utilised, and a statement about what the student will produce at the completion of placement. Students are supported in their learning over this period by the lecturer who will provide feedback on online reflective journal entries, and on the initial draft of the learning contract. During their period of practice based learning with their selected agency students undertake tasks as required by the agency and agreed on in their learning contract. These tasks may include research on specified topics, observation of and sometime participation in the practices of the agency, and preparation of reports or materials on agreed topics.

Placement experiences over the majority of the session enhance student understanding of and participation in the practice of honesty, integrity, accountability, public service and ethical standards in a real world context. The placement also provides students with opportunities to identify, appraise and critique the operation of the law and legal processes and importantly to experience and respond to the challenges posed by barriers to access to justice.

Strategy 4: Communication and collaboration: Undertaking a practice based learning placement and completion of the tasks agreed in a Learning Contract requires teamwork and collaboration with agency staff. These activities provide students with the opportunity to develop their communication and interpersonal skills, including being responsive and adaptive to the perspectives of collaborators, utilising appropriate communication strategies and adapting strategies as required. Students also share their experiences with other students in collaborative UTSOnline discussions, informing, analysing and reporting on research and practice tasks and their learning.

Strategy 5: Critical reflection: Reflection is an ongoing process. Students’ critical evaluation of their participation and performance is an important part of monitoring student well-being and learning. Students are required to post a minimum of four online entries for inclusion in a final report on student experiences while on placement. The lecturer and other students will provide feedback on these entries and the lecturer will provide feedback on the final report. Students will reflectively analyse their experiences, including what they did, thought, felt and learnt, and connect this to their ‘actions’ and their active learning over the course of their placement. Opportunities to discuss these learning experiences will be provided on UTSOnline and in two assessment sessions following the end of the session during which students share and receive feedback on their experiences and learnings about the practice of social justice. The presentations and final reports provide students with the opportunity to reflect on the ways in which they have applied their strategic and analytical thinking in practice as they identified and investigated legal and research issues, and the ways in which their understanding of the practice of honesty, integrity, accountability, public service and ethical standards has been enhanced over the course of their placement.

Strategy 6: Feedback: Students will receive online feedback on their draft Learning Contract from their lecturer from week 3. Formative feedback on the draft Learning Contract and reflective journal entries on UTSOnline during the course of placement will respond to the quality of student participation in the work of their selected agency and their progress with the tasks set out in the Learning Contract. Students will receive written feedback on their final report from the lecturer and from the agency representative on their participation, communication and collaboration during the course of the placement.

Subject Delivery:

The subject will be delivered through a combination of block teaching, a practice based learning placement with a social justice agency, reflective journal entries and student presentations and reports:

  • Two three hour introductory classes with presentations by agency representatives and class discussion informed by preliminary readings,
  • Placement with social justice agency for a minimum of 8 days over 9 weeks,
  • Preparation and finalisation of a Learning Contract with a social justice agency during the placement,
  • Four UTSOnline reflective journal entries over the course of the placement,
  • Two three hour assessment sessions with oral presentations by students reflecting on placement experiences and learning consistent with subject objectives,
  • Written reports on placement outcomes.


Assessment task 1: Learning contract


To provide a framework for the learning experiences and outcomes for the student's practice based learning placement.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

2, 3, 4 and 5

This task contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes:

LAW.1.0, LAW.2.0, LAW.3.0 and LAW.5.0

Weight: 20%

Word limit: 1300 words

  • Clear explanation of stated aims, resources, strategies and outcomes of practice based learning.
  • Relevance of proposed outcomes to stated aims of placement.
  • Creativity and originality of proposed strategies, resources and outcomes.
  • Evidence of communication and collaboration with agency representative in the preparation of the contract indicated by comments by agency representative on first and final drafts of the contract.
  • Evidence that self-directed work will be undertaken and that professional judgment and accountability will be exercised during the course of practice based learning..

Assessment task 2: Reflective Journal Entries


To provide an opportunity for students to critically and creatively appraise and reflect on their progress in completing the tasks set out in the draft Learning Contract and on their experiences during the course of their practice based learning, and for the lecturer and other students to provide feedback on the student’s reflections.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2 and 5

This task contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes:

LAW.1.0, LAW.2.0, LAW.3.0 and LAW.6.0

Weight: 30%

300 words per entry

  • Depth and succinctness of appraisal and critique of the nature of the law and legal processes relevant to the placement.
  • Clear indications of the use of professional judgment and compliance with ethical standards during the placement.
  • Clarity and depth of reflections on self-management, exercise of judgment and accountability.
  • Indications of effective use of feedback on reflections from lecturer and peers.

Assessment task 3: Class presentation and written report


To provide students with an opportunity to demonstrate, appraise, and critically reflect on, the nature and outcomes of their achievements and the development and deepening of their understanding of the operation of the law and legal processes in the social justice context of their practice based learning.


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 3 and 5

This task contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes:

LAW.1.0, LAW.2.0, LAW.3.0, LAW.5.0 and LAW.6.0

Weight: 50%

Report: 3000 words

  • Relevance of legal and social analyses in presentation and written report to the legal, ethical and practical issues faced by the organisations in which students undertake their placements
  • High level of communication skills in class presentation and written report.
  • Accuracy of statements about applicable substantive and procedural laws and clarity of explanation of how they impact on or relate to social justice contexts.
  • Capacity to engage in independent, strategic and creative thinking when evaluating complex legal problems.
  • Capacity to undertake self-directed work and to exercise judgment and accountability demonstrated by content of presentation and report.

Minimum requirements

This subject is taught at Masters level. All students will need to achieve the advanced subject learning outcomes of self-management, critical reflection and professional responsibility through their participation in the internship and pre-departure preparations, their critical reflection and their debriefing presentation.

Required texts

No required texts

Recommended texts

  • Stephen Bottomley and Simon Bronnitt, Law in Context (Federation Press, 4th ed, 2012)
  • Mark Goodale and Sally Engle Merry (eds), The Practice of Human Rights: Tracking Law Between the Global and the Local (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  • Christine Parker and Adrian Evans, Inside Lawyers' Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed, 2014)
  • Ysiaih Ross, Ethics in Law: lawyers’ responsibility and accountability in Australia (LexisNexis Butterworths, Sydney, 2013)

Other resources


This subject has a UTSOnline site ( The site will contain announcements and clarifications of administrative and assignment matters. It is the responsibility of students in this subject to ensure they are registered on UTSOnline for this subject, and to regularly check UTSOnline for announcements. Students are required to contribute as set out in the subject content. If you have difficulty accessing UTSOnline please call the ITD Helpdesk on 9514 2222 or e-mail

UTS Library

The UTS Library has a wide range of services and resources that you will find useful, including law reports, law journals, textbooks, and access to online resources

Selected websites:?

Participating agency websites: