LAW309 Professional Legal Conduct (8)

This subject examines critically the nature of the legal profession and its role in society. In particular, it introduces students to skills of ethical problem solving within the context of professional practice, and the regulations and standards that govern them. A significant component of the subject covers discrete problems of legal ethics such as confidentiality, access to justice, truth in the adversarial system, conflicts of interest and relationships between lawyers, clients and the community. Students are also introduced to the principles of trust accounting.

Availability

* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 1 (30)
Online *
Bathurst Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: LAW309. 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

HD/FL

Duration

One session

School

Centre for Law and Justice

Enrolment Restrictions

Bachelor of Laws and the Bachelor of Laws/Criminal Justice students only.

Prerequisites

LAW112 and LAW116

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to analyse critically the role of the lawyer within the context of the Australian adversarial system, including the cost of justice and alternatives to litigation
  • be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the values, principles and standards of practice articulated in the professional codes of ethics and the provision of relevant statutes and case law
  • be able to critically engage with the principles of trust accounting, including identifying and solving problems within the lawyer-client context
  • be able to identify and analyse value conflicts and ethical dilemmas that occur in professional legal practice and propose solutions by applying legal, statutory and ethical principles to hypothetical scenarios to resolve those issues
  • be able to use initiative and judgement to analyse critically persuasive legal argument that applies the relevant regulation and theoretical insights to both practical issues and theoretical understandings pertaining to the role of the modern-day lawyer
  • be able to present a clear, coherent and independent exposition of the way the legal profession's conduct is regulated in Australia (particularly NSW), including disciplinary processes, apparatus and functions
  • be able to act autonomously to present a clear and coherent exposition of knowledge that manifests professional judgement to questions relating to breaches of professional accountability, including the ramifications of breach of trust
  • be able to critically analyse statutory, common law and other legal mechanisms of accountability including obligations to the client, court, practitioners and others and reflect upon philosophical theories and social justice policies underpinning this area of the law

Syllabus

This subject will cover the following topics:
  • The ethical framework (personal morals, values and attributes, theories of ethics, and legal professionalism)
  • History and changing status of the legal profession
  • Structure, regulation, and discipline of the legal profession in NSW and Australia
  • Access to justice
  • Role of the lawyer, introduction to professional duties and rules (legal, equitable, professional and ethical)
  • Confidentiality, conflict of interests and privilege
  • Duties to the court and others
  • Alternatives to the adversarial system: negotiation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Lawyer's accountability (complaints, breaches and remedies)
  • Trust accounting
  • The legal requirements for dealing with trust property
  • The recording requirements for trust accounts and other trust dealings, including methods of maintaining trust accounts
  • Provisions for governing the handling of trust money and other trust property
  • Legislation concerning identification of trust moneys, and regulations or rules relating to trust accounting
  • Breach of trust

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of LAW309 in Session 1 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
Title
Value %
1
Take home short answer quiz
20
2
Legal memorandum
20
3
Viva voce
20
4
Invigilated exam
40

Residential School

This subject contains a 2 day Optional Residential School.

The 2-day residential school for this subject is optional. It will cover the seminar topics relevant to the subject with particular emphasis on relevant case law, precedents and legislation.

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

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