HCS532 Law for the Human Services (8)

Employing a problem-based learning approach, this subject concentrates on the foundational laws and legal issues required by graduates working in the broad field of human services. Incorporating the twin themes of rights and justice, key topics include the legal environment and professional responsibility and accountability. Particular emphasis is given to the ways in which graduates might employ mechanisms that positively influence legal processes and outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged people.


Session 1 (30)
Wagga Wagga Campus
Session 2 (60)
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: HCS532. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Not available to students who have previously completed LAW207, LAW303, LAW209, LAW307, ETH202, HCS221.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to demonstrate a knowledge of the legal system and issues relevant to professional practice in the human services;
  • be able to recognise legal issues and problems in practice;
  • be able to demonstrate individual and group problem solving skills by application of relevant legal knowledge to case studies or in problem based learning;
  • be able to recognise and demonstrate an understanding of mechanisms that positively influence legal processes and outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged people;
  • be able to demonstrate judgment as to the appropriate role of the human service worker in relation to the legal system and their client(s); and
  • be able to critically evaluate and engage in the wider legal, ethical, social policy debates central to the human services in Australia, including reform of the law.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • The Australian legal environment, sources of Australian law, court systems and structures, the common law and human rights
  • Law making and law changing, understanding and interpreting laws, identifying legal services and mechanisms for access to justice
  • Introduction to administrative law and natural justice
  • Mediation and alternative dispute resolution
  • Professional responsibility and accountability
  • Professional privilege and client information: privacy, confidentiality, record keeping, Freedom Of Information(FOI)
  • Court reports and the expert witness
  • Duty of care
  • Professional and organisational codes of ethics, conflict of interest, and professional misconduct.

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of HCS532 in Session 2 2019. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Progress assessment - online quiz
Legal research essay
Legal research essay - human rights law

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: October 2020. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.