The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


4000 level

Course handbook


Examines and critically reviews the role of the legal profession and the legal, ethical and professional conduct duties and responsibilities of lawyers. Students consider the history, structure and regulation of the legal profession, before focusing on the admission requirements to the legal profession. The course considers in detail the duties and obligations of a lawyer to the courts, clients, other legal practitioners, the public and other parties. The course will examine in detail the ethical and professional conduct issues and dilemmas that can arise for a lawyer in practice. The course also focuses on the legal profession and its commitment to pro bono and consider a lawyers role in assisting marginalised persons in accessing justice and the legal system.

Availability2020 Course Timetables

Newcastle City Precinct

  • Semester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Identify professional conduct issues and apply the relevant professional conduct rules, principles and case law and to take action which complies with those professional conduct rules and principles

2. Identify and avoid any potential or actual conflict of interest and take action to deal with a conflict which has arisen

3. Demonstrate thorough knowledge of the law and the regulatory framework governing lawyers in relation to ethical and professional conduct issues and their cost disclosure requirements

4. Critically examine the role of the legal profession and its service to the public

5. Identify the values of the profession and a student's own values and the potential conflicts and tensions between those sets of values

6. Critically evaluate and reflectively engage with legal ethics and professional conduct issues and critically evaluate the institutional framework for regulating the legal profession

7. Apply the legislation, rules and case law to professional conduct problems in a problem based learning context

8. Apply the principles governing costs disclosures and costs agreements in legal practice and to have the knowledge, skills and the appropriate values to comply with the rules applying to the charging of legal fees

9. Identify and critically analyse the wider issues in legal practice including the importance of pro bono contributions by the legal profession, acting as an advocate for the just rule of law, critically evaluating the barriers that some people face in accessing justice and the legal system and respond to demands for reform in an analytical and public-spirited fashion.

10. Conduct high-level research, explore primary and secondary materials, and provide critical analysis of problems and questions.


  1. Overview of Professional Regulation
  2. The Changing Nature of Legal Practice
  3. Access to justice, Legal Aid, Pro Bono work and Social Justice
  4. Regulation of Admission to the Legal Profession; Disclosure
  5. Practising law; Solicitors and Barristers
  6. Lawyers' Duty to Client
  7. Client Capacity
  8. Conflict of Interest; Information Barriers
  9. Lawyers' Duty to the Court and to the Administration of Justice
  10. Witnesses
  11. Lawyers' Duty to Other Lawyers, the Public and to Others
  12. Prosecutors and Defence Lawyers' duties and obligations
  13. Barristers and Advocates Immunity
  14. Judicial Bias
  15. Lawyers and the Media
  16. Discipline Professional Misconduct and Unsatisfactory Professional Conduct, conduct in practice and conduct outside of practice, the role of the NSW Civil Administrative Tribunal and the Supreme Court of NSW, penalties and striking off
  17. The role of the Ethics Section of the Law Society of New South Wales and the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner NSW
  18. Retainer, Costs Disclosure and Agreement, Lien  


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Laws and associated combined degree programs or Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and associated combined degree programs.

Assumed knowledge

LAWS1010, LAWS1011, LAWS1020, LAWS1021, LAWS2030, LAWS3040, and LAWS3041.

Assessment items

Essay: Essay *

In Term Test: On-line exam

Formal Examination: Formal Examination

Participation: Tutorial Participation

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • Essay: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - Irrespective of a student¿s mark in the course, if a student has achieved overall marks greater than 50% in the course but has failed to satisfactorily complete the compulsory course component then a zero mark and fail grade (FF) will be recorded on their transcript.

Contact hours

Newcastle City Precinct

Online Activity

Online 2 hour(s) per Term Full Term starting in week 1


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Term Full Term